Shamie on fabric art

Langalakhe Mabena 

When clothes get old and torn, we tend to dispose or throw them away, yet to other people like Sinqobile Shamiso Dube also known as Shamie Art, they are of importance as they can be used to tell a story through art.

Fabric art or textile art is a form of craft that uses clothes to construct practical or decorative objects.

Shamie Art is a fabric artist who is housed at the National Gallery in Bulawayo, who exhibited her craft on Women’s Day, as the gallery celebrated creativity by women in changing the spectrum of art.

While studying at Eveline High School, she developed a passion for drawing, little knowing that it would be her career.

“I developed a passion for art while I was still a student at Eveline. When I enrolled for my A-level, I realised that it’s not my thing hence I then decided to enrol at Mzilikazi Art and Craft Centre, where my skills were polished.

“Of course, it was not easy to convince my parents that I want to do art as my career, but my dad finally supported me as he is also an artisan which is also a form of art, that has to do with the designing of machines,” said Shamie Art.

She became a professional artist four years ago, specialising in painting portraits using a pen.

She was then advised to venture into fabric art by a curator who visited her home studio in Mpopoma. 

She took the advice that then made it an easy way for her to recycle old clothes, enabling her to be one of the few female artists in Zimbabwe to focus on the fabric genre.

It’s not easy for her to practise fabric art.

“Fabric is not a common art as many are used to painting and drawing, hence, many don’t understand how to frame the stuff, keep it and how to view it. It’s simple yet bold. It takes a person with a very sharp eye to understand what is communicated on fabric art. Getting my craft known is a challenge because it’s not common but I guess with time people will understand it. It’s my first time to have a studio housed at the gallery courtesy of the gallery’s seventh Residency Programme, hence, I guess my stay here will popularise my craft,” said Shamie Art.

After doing a group exhibition with the United Nations on Women’s Day, the dreadlocked artist is set to do a solo exhibition with the Alliance Francaise (Bulawayo) next year in January.

Her inspiration is United States of America artist Bisa Butler who has created a new genre of quilting that has transformed the medium.

With pen art, she sold portraits in different places including Dubai, Sweden, London and Canada, to private clients.

Shamie Art is also a mbira player. She is also into performance art which is artworks that are created through actions performed by the artiste or other participants, which may be live or recorded, spontaneous or scripted. 

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