OKHA recently debuted a new collection; The Stone Rug Collection, which is a study in abstract geometry in the same vein as the hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt. The visual lineage of South African Nguni (Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele and Swazi) used graphic geometry to communicate messages of gender, social status and the use of colour reflects moods. Seen as one of the most authentic motifs of South Africa (often alternatively represented by the bush and beating sun), the abstract geometry especially the triangle, is actually the most ubiquitous motif of modern South African heritage.
The Stone Rug Collection is more than you would expect from a typical rug. With designs like the ‘Traverse’ and the ‘Oblique’ it is clear this isn’t your typical rug collection.
According to the OKHA Team:
To begin, only one in the collection’s six designs is four-sided. This, the aptly named Traverse (defined by the online dictionary as “to travel across or through”) allows us to deduce that once you set foot on a world where the ground is woven from hand tufted fine Himalayan wool and bamboo silk, you literally traverse.
The STONE collection’s geometric montage evokes the designs of Zulu ear plugs or isiquaza, which were initially worn to show the wearer as having reached manhood and to show eligibility. Also visible is the relationship to the geometric symmetry in Xhosa beadwork, used to convey gender through to marriage. The Oblique rug which has six sides, literally makes use of oblique angles for its outer form while its visual design is cut in half by a black stripe, leaving triangles of color either side.
The Diamond Rug is also six-sided and emblazoned with a symmetrical motif – two triangles meet point to point and are flanked by two diamonds, forming an overall shape of a cut diamond (the precious gemstone of course another South African icon). A reason the triangle is such a fundament in Nguni fashion, social index and home decor is because the values of its endpoints visually form the trinity of mother, father and child. Put together in different arrangements, say hourglass or diamond, you are able to join different singular notions into compound meaning and arrive at a visual language.
The STONE collection references older Ndebele paintings which employed the muted earthy colours of ground ochres and clays, offering us multiple colourways of baby blues, dusty pinks, reds, olive greens & greys as well as taupe. Stone Rug #1, #2 and #3 all have five sides of different lengths and pay homage to Ndebele home decor by using bold outlines or impressionistic stitching to create contrast. OKHA has referenced rock structure, tribal art and traditional beadwork, fusing them as one concise and defined Afrocentric graphic language. Angular and geometric designs are zoomed in, exploded, reduced to their core dynamic component; the result is African modern, robust, elegant and kinetic design diffused with subtle texture and material nuances that make the STONE collection abstract floor art for the progressive and discerning.
Are you a fan of the OKHA Stone Rug collection? Learn more about the brand and their offerings on okha.com.
IMAGES courtesy of OKHA