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From the studio to your home

A table runner clad with dark oranges, fiery reds and earthy browns describes Tom Kenesi’s A Batik Touch in Namibia.

A table runner clad with dark oranges, fiery reds and earthy browns describes Tom Kenesi’s A Batik Touch in Namibia.

The warm smell of porridge lingering in the air, beautifully crafted on canvas cloth, creating endless effects and telling tales of African culture, is painted with warm earthy tones of dark orange, fiery reds and dusty browns, by Tom Kenesi in his selection of fine Batiks currently on display at the Franco Namibian Cultural Centre.
The exhibition which opened this week aims to introduce Kenesi’s creations to local art lovers. Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Kenesi was trained at the Peter Birch School for Arts in Harare.  At the age of 21 he fell in love with batik. He started his own batik workshop in 1998 in a garage turned studio and selling at open markets, curio shops and art galleries throughout Zimbabwe. In 2010 he started operating his business, “Batik in Giraffe” in Katutura where he is imparting his skills to Namibians such as the Penduka’s Women Project.
He said he chose the term batik giraffe because of the animal’s curiosity as it never hides even when people are staring at it. He seeks to show the public that it is a lovable animal. Batik art started in Indonesia. The word batik, in fact originates from the Javanese word for dots and lines, ba means lines and tik means to dot. It is both an art and a craft Asians used candle wax and dye as means of decorating cloth.
This art process is quite simple, and requires only everyday household items. The paste can be made from either flour or maize porridge. The maize meal is boiled in water and the paste is placed in a plastic bag with a little hole in it or a nozzle and is put on the cloth by hand in the desired pattern and dried. It is then dipped in dye and painted, then baked at high temperatures. When the cloth is dry it is washed to remove the meal paste revealing an exquisite piece of art. From here, the batik goes to a craft market, curio shop, or, as in this case, to an exhibition.
Kenesi’s exhibition includes a range of batik products such as table cloths and runners, duvet covers, cushion covers, aprons, place mats, curtains and hand bags. His creations are ideal as wall and floor decorations and they make wonderful gifts.
The exhibition runs until 7 September. Entrance is free.

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