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The 360 Degrees Vanishing Project (360DVP) is a series of four monumental tapestries initially planned to be mounted onto the exterior walls of Art League Houston (ALH). One walled tapestries will be mounted in Spring 2019 with the following three being planned as installations to be shared with other parts of the city in the near future. The project is informed by 7 years the artist spent living and working in South Africa, where the traditional craft of beading – once a significant component of South African folk life – was vanishing from the cultural landscape. The 360DVP was created as a means to re-imagine the possibilities of applying a traditional art form, such as beading, in a different cultural and modern context aimed at inspiring broader discourse around the societal significance that exist in both present-day as well as historic settings.

As an international public art and cultural exchange between Houston and South Africa, 360DVP has already succeeded in bringing together several South African Eastern Cape communities and connected them with hundreds of Houstonians from various communities. Between the Summer 2014 and Winter 2015, 16 highly skilled beaders from sewing coops throughout the Eastern Cape traveled in 3 groups and lived at the Art League Houston residency house. During this time, over 1000 volunteers from across Houston, ages 5 – 93, met and worked in tandem with the South African beaders at workshops held at venues throughout Houston to create this tapestry.

Photo by Juan Islas, Houston Chronicle, Art League Houston

Photo by Juan Islas, Houston Chronicle, Art League Houston

The concept of the 360DVP addresses the gradual disappearance of the tradition of beading culture within South Africa in particular, as well as the vanishing parts of various cultures that are taken for granted but have been disappearing from our everyday lives. The 360DVP re-imagines the possibilities of how a traditional medium, such as beading, can be re-envisioned and re-activated by placing it within a new context and landscape. This project is an international cultural exchange with South Africa and ALH is working with the South African Government as well as the Craft and Cultural Hub of the Eastern Cape and the South African Cultural Minister's Office.

Volunteer Beading Session at Project Row Houses

Volunteer Beading Session at Project Row Houses

Significant support for this project has been provided by Art League Houston, Houston First Corporation, Houston Arts Alliance, The South African Eastern Cape Government, Morgan Family Foundation, Texas Commission on the Arts, Houston Endowment, CARDNO, Poppi Georges Massey, Scott Sparvero, Louisa Stude Sarofim, OKRA Charity Bar, Sara Paschall Dodd, Anita & Gerald Smith, Susan and Sanford Criner, Eileen Lawal, Jim Peterson, John & Stephanie Smither Visionary Fund, David Robinson, Minnette B. Boesel, Ashley Langley, Phillis Jarmon, Rice University, Texas Southern University, Project Row Houses, Texas Gallery, Kerry Inman, Silver Street Studios, MakerSpace Houston, The Beadery Rhode Island, Soft Flex San Francisco, CE Shepherd Steel, Whole Foods, HEB, Phoenicia Foods Downtown, Canopy Restaurant, Aladdin Restaurant, Bar Boheme and Copy Dot Com.

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