Detail from Cherry Tree, one of the pieces in the Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence. Photograph: Susana Raab/Anacostia Community Museum
The Anacostia Community Museum's exhibition Ubuhle Women: #Beadwork and the Art of Independence recognises the powerful cultural currents and backstories from the artists as central to their every stitch. The 31-piece exhibition of bead art – what the artists call ndwango, which means cloth or rag – features religious, metaphysical and earthbound themes rendered both literally and through various stages of abstraction. The tiny glass beads densely hand-sewn on to black fabric canvases showcase both #Xhosa and #Zulu traditions. And they display a partnership that began in 1999 on a former sugar plantation north of Durban and that now includes the five featured artists, who live and work together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and others.