The Dancing Fish gallery is a living and live-in gallery. It presents the multi-faceted, sum of all the art and craft and heritage-based products and artworks exhibited and treasured in and around the lodge as a whole. It invites the Cultural Heritage center, our Textile & Design studio, CraftArt shop and YOU, to jive with! Please feel welcome, to step in and enjoy!
To quickly understand the social fibre of Limpopo
The Cultural Heritage centre tell the stories of the different peoples that formed the social landscape of Limpopo as it is today. This create a nice opportunity for guests to quickly get the bigger picture of all the cultural groups of Northern Limpopo in a colourful nutshell before they perhaps go out to meet some of our local people in person.
Valuable information about traditional healing, musical instruments, food and food preparation and the meaning of beads are on display in the lapa and dining room . It gives nice background information for people interested in enriching their experience of what makes people tick in general. Madi a Thavha was privileged to get two remarkable anthropologists, Petra Terblanche and Harold Kolkman to curate the centre’s information and artefacts in a meaningful whole. They also contributed unique and precious personal photos and historic items to our gallery.
Contemporary art, a first-hand experience
The permanent exhibition of Limpopo art in the gallery in front of the centre, promotes the work of extraordinary Limpopo artists and crafters who followed their passions and over many years, have paid their respects to and preserved their cultural heritage, even if it is often difficult to survive.
In the gallery, and on our village tours when meeting the local people, visitors can get a first-hand experience of the ongoing dialogue between ancient and traditional African ideas and modern life in the North. The labels attached to arts and crafts at Madi a Thavha contain the stories and memories of their makers and the unique ethnic groups that they are part of.
Revival of the Arts and Culture of Northern Limpopo
The renewed interest in arts and crafts was the outcome of a process that started 10 years ago. To revive the dwindling traditional arts and culture of the Venda, Tsonga and Northern Sotho people, the government made funds available to support crafters groups. The aim was to create jobs and generate income through projects, mainly targeting unemployed, rural women. Cultural and heritage practitioners got involved in many research projects, studying cultural aspects of the craft communities and opportunities for craft and tourism development.
Heritage based products
Skilled artists and crafters started to develop unique and innovative products using traditional elements and indigenous technologies. The knowledge to use natural resources, that had been part of Limpopo people’s heritage for centuries, was revived. Ancient traditions and modern technologies were combined and through a process of product development, value was added to nearly-forgotten skills and products.
At the core of this process was the promotion of pride and dignity in your own abilities and goods, by creating awareness in the tremendous value of their indigenous knowledge and skills.
Supporting the artists and crafters
The Venda, Tsonga and Northern Sotho people are traditionally, artistically minded and their skills very well developed. They work with wood, clay, textile and paper and some homesteads and workshops are truly monuments of traditional beauty and creativity.
Madi a Thavha crisscross the dust roads of the region, between mountains, villages and valleys, source new talent and supports these artists and crafters by helping with product design, sourcing appropriate materials, do product development and quality control, and to then also find appropriate markets and marketing opportunities.
Our Dancing Fish gallery is a way to honour, present, explain and promote their work by also presenting their rich cultural heritage. Training and inspirational gatherings with the artists are also organised at our lodge. Madi a Thavha’s speciality is to source, promote and provide CraftArt that reflects the individual uniqueness of the diverse and culturally rich northern regions of Limpopo Province in South Africa. Product design and developing production processes are also part of the services we provide.