Maid in Africa exhibition – Peculiarities of a Motherland

With the rare experience of showcasing special edition posters filled with humorous sayings and retro prints, the Omba art gallery opened their Maid in Africa limited edition poster exhibition this week.
The Maid in Africa limited edition posters are created by Andrew Weir, a renowned artist and graphics designer amongst many other things. This exhibition is inspired by bright colours, townships, home-made shops and the African blue skies to familiar prints of canned food products that shaped the childhoods of most southern African natives. The posters not only reflect the simplicities that are unique to Africa, they also carry political innuendos and humorous quotes, often hidden in almost facsimile copies of the original familiar posters.
Speaking at the opening of the event Ms Susan Rudd delved into the background of the Maid in Africa poster exhibition saying the opening had to be postponed to get the full spectrum of posters together. Sketching Weir’s unique eye and contributioin, Rudd reminded the audience that he was a major player in the advertising industry as he owned the oldest advertising company and was part of Namibia’s independence campaign.
Maid in Africa was started in 2005 by Andrew and his partner Micha Weir as a means to generate extra work and income for Andrew Weir’s maid and friend Priscilla, who lost her other work when diagnosed HIV positive. While still working in advertising and social development, Andrew started silkscreen printing and hand painting on their kitchen table, employing former street vendors through Micha’s development work at the Big Issue.
Andrew believes turning one man’s trash into another man’s treasure is a truly African way to use free material and imagination is the only ingredient required to create new values. “We turn milk and juice cartons into wallets, tomato and fruit tins into pincushions and coke crates into upmarket dining chairs – on a shoestring budget and a consideration for the environment.”
With their trademark Maidonna print and the playful use of “Maid” with its strong association with southern African way of life, Maid in Africa celebrates those that are often overlooked.

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