Friday, January 8, 2010


With the completion of the renovation of a former recycling facility, Ideal Academy was ready for its students. However, the 70-ft. white wall (see photo) on the main floor of Ideal Academy was such a large empty expanse that it cried out for an artist's touch...

Principal, George Rutherford, asked if the National Museum of African Art would partner with their school to create a mural on the great wall. After much discussion, I decided to introduce the students to the tradition of wall painting in South Africa among the Ndebele for inspiration. For generations, Ndebele artists have combined bright colors and complex geometric shapes to create innovative designs on the front walls of their houses. Mural decoration is done by Ndebele women who express great individuality and style. Contemporary paintings use a wide variation of color: blues, greens, reds, and yellows...

Photo: Ndebele Artist Nation, 1995., violet, rust, brown, and other paints depending on what was available on market day. And always outlined in black.

Deborah Stokes
National Museum of African Art

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