Many years ago African basket-weaving was for utilitarian purposes only. Baskets were tightly woven but simply decorated and used to store and carry food. By the 1960’s weaving was fast becoming a dying art as plastic and metal containers found their way to the trading stores of northern Botswana.
Only in the 1970’s did basket-weaving make a come-back this time as a commercial venture fostered by resettlement officers who saw weaving as a good income generator for Hambukushu refugees who crossed over to Botswana from Angola, fleeing war.
The baskets are made from the fibrous shoots from the heart of the mokolwane palm. To make a basket is a slow process. Each basket takes about a month to complete, working every day. Botswana baskets are widely regarded as some of the finest in Africa. The art of making baskets has become incredibly exquisite, employing designs with evocative names such as Flight of the Swallow, Tears of the Giraffe and Knees of the Tortoise.
This exhibition showcases Botswana Basket's unique beauty and revival of the once dying art of basket weaving.