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The JOURNEY TO FREEDOM narratives: Songs, Stories, Drawings and Embroideries 2003-2004


In a nutshell the first phase of the multimedia project entails:

  • Liaison between Gwen Miller (visual artist and lecturer) and Thembela Vokwana (singer and music lecturer) about the selected songs  their contexts and drafting the initial proposal to the principal.

  • On invitation, Gwen and Thembela undertook a research trip to a conference on racial reconciliation at the University of Mississippi (2003), with workshops under Rev James Lawson junior. 

  • Liaison between core conceptualizing visual arts team Gwen Miller, Wendy Ross, Celia de Villiers and Erica Luttich. The concept of the digital projection of the embroideries was central to the idea of empowering people and providing a platform for people to tell their personal stories.

  • The embroidery groups and animation artists brainstorm and research the context of the songs in their lives and the situation in the country at the time the songs were composed and sung.  Understanding, insight and empathy developed on social and artistic levels.

  • The Boitumelo and Intuthuko sewing groups made drawings and embroider these after interaction with the group of digital artists, under guidance of artist facilitators. The telling of stories are seen as the threads of history, reweaving various realities.       

  • A selection of embroideries, 64 in total, were composed by Ross and Miller into wall hangings to form two large panels, whist the rest (approximately 30) were framed or stitched into bags to be sold to benefit the embroiderers.          

  • Also see: Miller, G & Ross, W. 2007.The Multimedia project: Introducing the Boitumelo and Intuthuko Sewing Groups and their work, in The Journey to Freedom Narratives, edited by FB Anderson.  Pretoria: UNISA: 72-75.

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