Ubuhle Beadwork at the Flint Institute of Arts

Don't read this post!

GO NOW TO THE UBUHLE WOMEN: BEADWORK AND THE ART OF INDEPENDENCE exhibit at the Flint Institute of Arts. It only runs through March 31, 2018. Then, after you've seen the exhibit, please come back and read this post and the others on our website!

Don't make the same mistake we did.

We had never been to the Flint Institute of Arts. Flint, I am sorry to say was a place we  have not visited in many years. 

After spending a delightful Sunday afternoon at the Flint Institute of Arts we have committed ourselves to returning not only to the Flint Institute of Arts, but to the other attractions in the Flint Cultural Center-the Sloan Museum, the Institute for Music, the Planetarium, etc.

We didn't go specifically for the exhibit. In fact, we didn't really even know it was there, we were just looking for something different to do on President's Day weekend. 

The Ubuhle Women exhibit is a travelling exhibit created by the Smithsonian Anacostia. Quite simply, the exhibit is a testament to the power of art and creation to heal the pain of our world. It is a wonderful example of how hope can triumph over despair. 

Each of the women in the exhibit have a story to tell-missing husbands, families devastated by AIds, the death of a child, poverty-but through this art work have learned not only to express themselves, but to tell their story to the world and to earn a livelihood that can help pull them out of the ravages of poverty.

In many ways, the exhibit is the perfect metaphor for the work that the Flint Institute of Arts is doing in the Flint community and in Michigan in general. 

I don't want to over-hype the exhibit, but the collected tapestries of African Crucifxion,  is worth the trip alone. It's collection of individual tapestries assembled to create a compelling narrative, each individual bead, patiently sewn-insignificant on its own, but essential to the larger story-one of hope and redemption. The center piece, The Crucified Christ:The Tree of Sacrifice, was completed by artist Thembani Ntobela and completed shortly before she died of Aids related illness. She re-worked the beadwork of the face relentlessly, meticulously, to ensure that it was perfect- a face of peace. 

In a perfect world, some benefactor would ensure that every school child in Michigan would be able to take a field trip to the Flint Institute of Arts fort the Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence exhibit. In the meantime, do yourself and your family a favor and go. Now!

For some inspirational music from the region. Please consider "Rain Rain Beautiful Rain" by Ladysmith Black Mambazo available for purchase at the iTunes store.