Craft debate: Elsie Nanji

Creative director and Design Indaba 2004 speaker, Elsie Nanji weighs in on Design Indaba's craft debate.

From the Series

“Art is typically the demonstration of creative ability in both the conceptualisation and the physical construction of a form. Art tends to be visual, adopting a form such as painting or sculpture, and is to be appreciated primarily for its beauty or connotation. Craft shares with art the emphasis on the dexterity of the maker, and the aesthetic appeal of the form; however the premium placed on the originality of the art-object is placed instead on the functionality of the craft object. The artist makes the painting, the craftsman makes the frame. Thus while art has been venerated as intellectual and profound, craft has been unfairly cast aside as banal and crude. While the distinctions between art, craft and design are certainly ambiguous, the implicit hierarchy seems unjustly imposed. The vernacular of the craftsman is no less worthy than the artist’s fancy dialect.”

Nanji submitted images from Ambience Advertising’s 2009 calendar, which celebrates common street artists and craftsmen who strive all day and every day to give the world a taste of their unique skill and talent.