Bev Butkow

“The world can be harsh, and showing kindness counters this by creating acceptance, inclusion and connection. It reasserts our humanity.”

This beaded woven mask is made up of approximately 4,257 beads.

The coherence of the beaded surface belies the amount of work, concentration and attention that goes into working with each tiny bead. Each of these insignificant acts of labour is a significant act of love and kindness that is filled with a desire to connect the world.

This is symbolic of Covid-19 that highlights our co-existence in an interconnected entangled place.

The mask is intended to look untidy in its fragility, like it’s about to unravel with hanging strands and loose ends left free. By making this art mask, I show my obligation to keep others safe. Masks save lives. It’s that simple.

Bev started making art in her mid-40s and is now a full-time artist grounded in the seriousness of her responsibility as an artist, maker, communicator and social actor.

She is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at Wits University, Johannesburg, on a scholarship from Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Bev’s filmed piece titled embodied-entanglements was included in the Tactile Visions-Woven exhibition at Turbine Art Fair 2020. The film uses visceral encounters with threads, knots and entanglements to highlight the intensity of work that goes into being a woman.