Exhibitions and Events

Celebrating 50 years of the Sordoni Art Gallery.

Featured Exhibit

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence

March 1 - May 10

Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence showcases a new form of bead art, the ndwango, developed by a community of women living and working together in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The six artists featured in the exhibition call their paintings in beads ndwangos, which translates as “cloth” or “rag.” The black fabric on which the Ubuhle women work is reminiscent of the Xhosa headscarves and skirts that many of them grew up wearing. By stretching this textile like a canvas, the artists transform the flat cloth into a contemporary art form colored with Czech glass beads. Using skills handed down through generations, and working in their own unique style “directly from the soul,” according to artist Ntombephi Ntobela, the women create abstract as well as figurative subjects for their ndwangos. Ubuhle means “beauty” in the Xhosa and Zulu languages and it describes the shimmering quality of light on glass that for the Xhosa people has a particular spiritual significance. From a distance, each panel seems to be formed from a continuous surface, but as each tiny individual bead catches the light, the viewer becomes aware of the meticulous skill that went into each work and the scale of ambition: a single panel can take more than 10 months to complete.

Events

Events take place at the Sordoni Art Gallery and are free and open to the public unless otherwise stated.

To register, please use the event registration form unless an event states otherwise.

Second Saturday Family Hour: Animals as Symbols

Saturday, March 9, 2024 | 12 PM

This Second Saturday Family Hour we will explore animals as symbols. Bulls are very important to the Xhosa and Zulu cultures in South Africa, where the Ubuhle women come from. Bulls represent wealth. Join the Sordoni Gallery to design your own animal keychain using beads!

Don’t forget to join us for storytime with the Osterhout Free Library at 1 p.m.!

Register for Second Saturday Family Hour: Animals as Symbols

South African Lunch + Art in Your Hands Workshop

Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 11 AM

Registration Required

Created and presented in Partnership with the Office of Global Engagement.

Inspiration unfolds over an African-inspired lunch at the Sordoni Gallery. Join us and make your own beadwork artwork inspired by the art in the gallery. Curator Bev Gibson will guide participants through the process. Space is limited. Please register on the online event registration form.

Want to just come for lunch? Let us know! We can reserve you a seat.

Register for South African Lunch + Art in Your Hands Workshop

Cocktails & Culture

Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 5:30 PM

Registration is required.

In celebration of our Ubuhle Women exhibition, we will celebrate with an evening of specialty cocktails, African-inspired cuisine and an inside look at our current exhibition with exhibition curator Bev Gibson. In addition, we will have a pop-up shop of handmade beadwork from artists in the exhibition! This is a popular event not to miss!

$30 | $25 for gallery members

For tickets, please see our website for the Eventbrite link: wilkes.edu/sordoniartgallery

Register for Cocktails & Culture

Ubuhle Brunch

Sunday, March 24, 2024 | 11 AM

Join us at the Sordoni Gallery for an artful brunch inspired by our current exhibition.  A casual tour of the exhibition will be provided and catch one of the last days of the Ubuhle pop-up shop of handmade beadwork from artists in the exhibition!

Registration is required.

Register for Ubuhle Brunch

Art in Context | Women’s History Month Lecture

Monday, March 25, 2024 | 4:45 PM

Looking at the recent change in dynamics within the art world towards Contemporary Artists from Africa, exhibition curator Bev Gibson will discuss traditional techniques and how they are now perceived in comparison to how they were recognized 10 years ago. Gibson will outline how the artists of Ubuhle now are revered with Museums, Art collectors and academic institutions.

Presented in partnership with the council on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

Register for Art in Context | Women’s History Month Lecture

Second Saturday Family Hour: Fused Bead Art

Saturday, April 13, 2024 | 12 PM

The art of beading is an ancient tradition. For this Second Saturday, join the Sordoni Art Gallery as we put a new spin on this tradition. Come create your own coaster and magnet with fused beads inspired by Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence. 

Don’t forget to join us for storytime with the Osterhout Free Library at 1 p.m.!

Register for Second Saturday Family Hour: Fused Bead Art

Second Saturday Family Hour: May Mosaics!

Saturday, May 11, 2024 | 12 PM

A mosaic is a piece of art that is made of smaller pieces, like stones or small pieces of paper. The art made by the Ubuhle women in the gallery are a kind of mosaic made up of thousands of colored glass beads. 

Join the Sordoni Art Gallery to create your own clay mosaics and mosaic sun-catchers inspired by Ubuhle Women: Beadwork and the Art of Independence.

Don’t forget to join us for storytime with the Osterhout Free Library at 1 p.m.!

Register for Second Saturday Family Hour: May Mosaics!

Questions? Please Contact

Heather Sincavage

Associate Professor/Director Sordoni Art Gallery

heather.sincavage@wilkes.edu