Art

Ceramicist Zizipho Poswa is shaping the way the world sees Xhosa culture

From London to Miami, this Cape artist's modern vessels are being snapped up wherever she shows them

24 November 2019 - 00:00 By Sean O'Toole

Two years ago, responding to a request to make something big for an exhibition in Cape Town, ceramicist Zizipho Poswa made three large stoneware pieces. Brightly coloured and featuring distinctive surface treatments, Poswa's Umthwalo vessels abstractly celebrated the resilience and strength of rural Xhosa women bearing loads on their heads. Art collectors cooed, among them Suzanne Ackerman-Berman. Sold.

Emboldened by the response, Mthatha-born Poswa worked on some more pieces. Where her first works were plump and resonant of the rounded forms of traditional ceramicists Nesta Nala and Lephina Molefe, her follow-up Ukukhula (growth) pieces were svelte and totemic, like the ritual forms in Mpumalanga artist Colbert Mashile's early paintings...

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