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Xenophobia Memory Cloth

Xenophobia Memory Cloth
Cynthia Msibi
Newcastle, KWAZulu-Natal, South Africa
12 1/2" x 16 3/4"
MSU Museum Accession 2010:123.1
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reserved by MSU Museum

Cynthia Msibi is a member of the Isiphethu (a Zulu word meaning “Fountain”) group. The Isiphethu began in l999 when a group of women from Madadeni and Osizweni came together to embroider appliqué images for a Woman’s Day project organized by the Carnegie Art Gallery, Newcastle. This project inspired the women to continue creating and a workshop program was launched in 2000. The group continues to work under the umbrella of the gallery and is encouraged to attend mentorship programs where business development and quality control are discussed. They have exhibited nationally and internationally and won many awards.

This quilt depicts a rally outside a supermarket with people protesting foreigners. There are police with dogs and police cars helping protect people from an angry crowd. The artist describes it this way:
Here people are seen being rescued by the police after the angry community members attacked them, here the shops have been closed because they've been broker into. And women and their children have ran to the police for some help as the other community members approaches. The police tried so hard to calm the situation as the members of the community are angry saying that the foreigners are taking their jobs from them causing them to be poor so they must be sent back to wherever they are coming from.

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