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Murray and Roberts Tapestries

The Murray and Roberts tapestries on display at the headquarters of the firm in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Murray and Roberts tapestries on display at the headquarters of the firm in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Murray and Roberts tapestries are a series of commissioned embroideries depicting South African trees. The plans for the tapestries were developed in 2007, when the construction, contracting and mining company of Murray & Roberts was building a new head office in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The firm approached the Keiskamma Art Project to help design an installation consisting of 26 double-sided embroideries, to be hung in the central atrium of the building. The Keiskamma Art Project’s artists Carol Hofmeyr, Jackie Downsand and Florence Danais, proposed to embroider and appliqué 26 indigenous trees, including the Baobab, Cabbage Tree and Waterberry, from the nine provinces of South Africa. 

The Keiskamma Art Project's artists committed themselves to complete the work on the 52 embroideries within twelve months. The series also became known as the South African Trees in Time. The panels were designed by a group of ten local designers. It was worked by seventy women embroiderers and beaders from the villages of Hamburg, Bodium and Ntiliti.

The size of each panel varies from 4 x 1.6 m to 4 x 5.5 m. The front side of the panel is worked in bright colours with detailed backgrounds and foliage. The backs of the panels are shadows of the front and worked in muted colours and geometric patterns that are more decorative than descriptive. The materials used include hand-dyed wool, appliqué cloth (satin, silk and taffeta), as well as felt. The edge of each embroidery panel is embellished with bead loom work.

Work on the panels started in May 2008 and was completed in April 2009. The embroideries were installed at the end of July 2009. The installation won several South African awards.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 20 June 2016).

SA

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 15:18