Mary Sleigh PSG :: The People of Namibia and Tanzania

Conversation Pieces

*Conversation Pieces* is a celebration of friendships made over many years with groups of people living in remote regions of southern Africa. the collection of pouches expresses something of the common language that binds us, and in contrast, the collection of images reflects their diversity.
work by Mary Sleigh in Creative Dialogues
work by Mary Sleigh in Creative Dialogues
The conversations started with my husband Roger as the expedition organiser, driver, engineer, travelling companion and photographer! Many other people who know and understand those remote people and places in southern Africa have helped us along the way. Most important of all communities of the Himba in Kaokoland, Maasal in Tanzania and other smaller groups of people have welcomed us into their villages and homes. Experiencing and sharing in the lives of these people is a great privilege.

My own creative journey has been greatly influenced by our extensive travels to remote regions of southern Africa. Africa bombards the senses and of course, colour, texture, pattern, space and form have all had a great impact on my visual ideas. It is also the people; their way of life and culture that has had a great influence on my thinking and way of working. Exposure to a culture so different from my own has heightened my awareness of the quality and diversity of ‘materials’, the importance of the passing on of skills and pride in the maker.

They inspire me with their natural grace, strong family ties and infectious zest for life and we have grown to respect each other through spending time with them sharing the routine of their ordinary everyday lives and exchanging ideas. They continue to use traditional practical skills that are passed on from generation to generation but are open to change. It is their resourceful approach that is vital to their way of life and future.

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