Ivy Park x Adidas Commission, Johannesburg
In December 2019, Monkeybiz had the most exciting opportunity when contacted by Deborah Dutton, Brand Activation Manager of Adidas SA, to do a commission for the launch of Ivy Park in Sandton, Johannesburg. Ivy Park is a brand Beyoncé has designed in collaboration with Adidas, named after her daughter Blue Ivy.
A chance to work with Beyonce’s new clothing brand and by extension Beyoncé herself was nothing short of a dream come true for the Monkeybiz artists working on the project. Deborah was over the moon upon hearing that Community Director of Monkeybiz Mathapelo Ngaka had met Beyoncé in February 2016 in New York at the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum during the exhibition launch of the Afreaks collection. Beyoncé had fallen in love with the traditional headwear that Mathapelo and the other bead artists proudly wore representing South African beauty.
Beyoncé & Adidas SA Commision MonkeyBiz
Ten women, a handful of Monkeybiz’ prolific bead artists, where given twelve working days to work on a very unusual piece than what they were used to – a 3.6m tall and 1.6m wide beaded curtain replicating Beyoncé’s iconic Ivy Park braids. Not only was this commission not an animal or doll or any other piece that Monkeybiz artists have become accustomed to, but it had to be made from wooden beads rather than the glass.
After a hair raising three weeks of trail and error, what a glorious and proud relief it was to see the curtain finished. Perhaps the team all felt as though there was extra pressure, as if Beyoncé was watching the process herself. But pressure makes diamonds and what a diamond this curtain was! The curtain was used at the Adidas x Ivy Park Sandton launch on Saturday the 18th of January 2020. As it hung in the entranceway of the Ivy Park store in Sandton City for the grand opening of the brand, it is unmistakable that Beyoncé fans would have squealed with joy at seeing such a blown up and tangible representation of their ‘Queen B’ before their eyes, as well as excitement for purchasing clothing from one of their favourite brands, Adidas (https://www.instagram.com/p/B7dfeYupIbU/).
Before the curtain was complete, a personal video message was made to give a shout out to Beyoncé from the Monkeybiz bead artists themselves. It has been confirmed by Beyoncé’s personal photographer Mason Poole, with whom Mathapelo and Monkeybiz remain in contact since meeting while collaborating with The Haas Brothers at the Smithonian, that Beyoncé and Jay Z have seen the video.
Each bead artist working on the project sat down in front of the camera to give a testimonial on what they enjoy the most about being a bead artist, their experience in working on such a grand and different piece as well a their own personal message to Beyoncé:
“What would you say to Beyoncé if she were sitting in front of you?”
The answers all varied from saying that Beyoncé’s music is inspiring for the women living in Khayelitsha, to some of the artists singing their own favourite songs of hers to Mathapelo actually greeting Beyoncé like a friend and “wishing that she could see her again.” It’s not often that one can brag about personally meeting Beyonce! But that’s Monkeybiz for you, humbly well-connected and always anticipating any new and exciting challenge.
Written by: Olivia Nolan