Transforming tapestries : how can the Keiskamma Art Project, its processes and art, be understood in relation to a contextual ecofeminist spirituality?
This thesis focuses on the question of “how can the Keiskamma Art Project, its processes and art, be understood in relation to a contextual ecofeminist spirituality?” This study is concerned with women’s experience and expression of the divine through their creativity. It explores how women’s art projects contribute to their aesthetic and creative development and the impact it has on their lives. The study argues that the “Spirit” which manifests as the power of divine creative energy which is released through human creativity can promote full life for women in South Africa. It also explores how the creative process offers a catalyst towards change which affects both personal and communal transformation. Protest art is presented and examples of its historical use both locally and internationally are sited. The discussion offers an understanding of why subordinates in society need to find a safe place to express their protest. Art projects are presented as ‘safe’ sites for women who find themselves oppressed by their societal circumstances to find opportunity for the exploration of their ideas and personal development. Ecofeminism is presented as a contemporary protest movement and the study engages with some of the work of three key ecofeminist theologians; Rosemary Radford Ruether, Ivone Gebara and Sallie McFague. Themes are developed which best describe the characteristics of an emerging ecofeminist spirituality. The focus of the case study is on the Keiskamma Art Project, its processes and art, with specific focus on the Keiskamma Altarpiece. The process of dialogue and consultation which preceded the art making and the artwork are discussed in detail. The context of the Keiskamma Art Project is explored in location in the Eastern Cape in the rural and coastal town of Hamburg. The socio-economic context of the Keiskamma Art Project is outlined, indicating the lived reality of women engaged in this Art Project. In conclusion, the study argues that an emerging contextual ecofeminist spirituality is evidenced through the women’s art, the Keiskamma Altarpiece and the Keiskamma Art Project and has contributed towards the empowerment of local women and helped them articulate a sustainable life giving vision of hope for the future.