Interview: Monkeybiz

MokeyBiz is a non-profit organization (NPO) founded in Cape Town, South Africa in 2000 to support economic upliftment, specifically aimed at women empowerment. They continue to produce unique beadwork which is a traditional African artform, with attractive colourful and charming expressions. MokeyBizは、2000年に南アフリカ・ケープタウンで設立された経済支援のためのNPO団体で、特に女性の活躍と権利向上を目的とした活動を行っています。Monkeybizのアーティトたちによって制作される作品は、色鮮やかで愛嬌あふれる表情が魅力的な、アフリカの伝統的な工芸品でもある個性的なビーズアートです。

Q1. Please describe an overview and history of Monkeybiz’s activities. Q1. Monkeybizの活動について教えてください。

Our main goal as a Non-Profit Organization is the well-being of our bead artists. Our job is to empower them to become self-sufficient breadwinners and provide them with the platform to become artists in their own right. The Monkeybiz bead artists remain our main source of inspiration in all the work that Monkeybiz do.
International acclaim has followed. Known as folk art Monkeybiz pieces were snatched up by Sotherbys Contemporary Decorative arts for a sell-out exhibition in 2002. The vibrant dolls, animals and beaded pictures have enthralled shoppers and collectors in Conran Design Stores in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. Donna Karan, has sold Monkeybiz craft art in her New York store DKNY. You’ll also find these iconic pieces at ABC carpet and Home, a department store that sets trends not only as a New York institution but worldwide.
Additionally, Monkeybiz has provided feeding schemes, an AIDS clinic and much more for our artists in past years.

Q2. What characterises the works of your project? Q2. Monkeybizの作品について教えてください。

Beaded with love. Love, dedication, tradition, culture and community characterizes our project. すべての作品が、愛を込めて制作されています。愛、献身、伝統、文化、コミュニティが私たちのプロジェクトを特徴づけています。

Q3. What is the uniqueness of your product? Q3. Monkeybizの作品作りの特色は何ですか?

Monkeybiz uses a unique beading technique which entails weaving the beads one, two or three at a time to create beaded panels. ビーズを1個、2個、3個と編み込んでビーズパネルを作るという、ユニークなビーズ制作技法を採用しています。

Q4. Please give us a feel for the atmosphere of your workspace when you’re working? Q4. 制作中のワークスペースの雰囲気を教えてください。

The Monkeybiz Workshop is a fun, colourful and dynamic space and what makes it so magical is everyone who works here. We can not do without our team and our beads. Monkeybizのワークショップは、楽しくてカラフルでダイナミックな空間ですが、それをまるで魔法のように作り上げているのは、ここで働いている皆です。私たちは、チームとビーズなしでは成り立ちません。

Q5. What have been some happy moments? Q5. Monkeybizの活動の中で、嬉しかったことは何ですか?

Seeing our bead artists grow as artists, as a community and as a family.
One of the highlights for our artists was meeting Beyonce & JayZ during an exhibition in USA.

Q6. What is the importance of “making by hand” to you? Q6. Monkeybizにとっての、「手仕事」の重要性とは何でしょうか?

All our items are handmade with love, everything we make takes time and dedication and is a traditional African craft handed down from generation to generation. 私たちの作品はすべて、愛情を込めて手作りされています。私たちは、時間と情熱を注いで作られるこの作品に、世代から世代へと受け継がれるアフリカの伝統的な工芸品に、誇りを持っています。

Q7. Do you have any dreams or ambitions for the future? Q7. 今後の展望について教えてください。

Our dream and ambition is to reopen our retail store again so that we can welcome tourists back into our store.
Additionally, it is our dream to continue uplifting and empowering the impoverished communities across Cape Town and to have he Monkeybiz brand become a household name.


Monkeybiz South Africa

We are a Cape Town based Non-Profit Organization called Monkeybiz, we specialize in the creation of bespoke beaded items.
Since the year 2000, we have dedicated our time and passion in economic upliftment in impoverished areas, specifically aimed at women empowerment. We do this through reviving a traditional African artform, which is the craft of beadwork. Through Monkeybiz, we are fortunate enough to have 219 talented bead artists from various townships across Cape Town that work with us, as a result of this collaboration, not only are they able to express themselves artistically, they are able to support themselves and their families financially through their art.
All profits from our sales go back into the community where the bead artists receive benefits such as year-end bonuses and funeral cover for their immediate families.