Cape City-based ceramic artist Zizipho Poswa is understood for an expansive artwork observe that pulls on historical African traditions (see our go to to Poswa’s studio). Her work is grounded within the Xhosa rituals she witnessed throughout her childhood within the Jap Cape province of South Africa, and in addition explores how the sociopolitical position of Xhosa girls has advanced all through generations.
Her debut 2021 exhibition at Cape City’s Southern Guild Gallery, titled ‘iLobola’ thought-about the worth and relevance of Lobola, a convention wherein a bridegroom’s household provides fee in cattle or money to the bride’s household forward of marriage. For the present, Poswa exhibited 12 giant sculptures, together with Makoti (Bride), uMyeni (Groom), uBuso beNtombi (Reward for the Bride’s Mom) and iKhazi (Agreed Variety of Cows), all measuring as much as 2m in top and resembling gourd-shaped totems. The items had been made by assembling hand-coiled clay bases, which had been painted in an array of colored glazes (one or two dripped results) and topped with two bronze horns.
Relatively than reinforce Lobola’s objectification of girls, Poswa regarded to the non secular features of the observe and the way such traditions provide alternatives for solidifying the bonds between two folks and uniting households and communities alike.
Zizipho Poswa’s ‘uBuhle boKhokho’ at Southern Guild
In a brand new exhibition, ‘uBuhle boKhokho’ (Fantastic thing about Our Ancestors) at Southern Guild, Poswa continues her exploration of conventional African hairstyles, first studied in her Magodi sequence (the Shona phrase for the subject). ‘uBuhle boKhokho’ attracts inspiration from the frilly artwork of hairstyling not simply in her native South Africa however throughout the African continent and increasing to the diaspora.
Black hair has lengthy been explored by a cross-generation of African artists, most notably by Nigerian photographer JD ’Okhai Ojeikere, who paired Nigerian girls’s hairstyles with the brand new Nigerian structure of the Sixties, and extra lately by London-based artist and hairstylist Pleasure Matashi. Knowledgeable by ancestral hairstyles from ethnic teams together with the Fulani and Zande, Poswa appears to be like even additional again with this new physique of labor. Twenty new monumental ceramics and bronze sculptures are unfold throughout Southern Guild’s areas, alongside a photographic sequence the place the artist recreated 12 hairstyles over a interval of 5 months.
Moreover, among the sculptures are titled after girls who’ve performed an vital position within the artist’s life, an ode to feminine solidarity, commonality and conviviality.
Throughout ceramics and pictures, Poswa reminds us of the vital position Black hair has performed culturally, socially and politically, throughout time, in addition to its versatility and experimental potential as an inventive and sculptural medium while being an vital marker of Blackness.
Zizipho Poswa, ‘uBuhle boKhokho (Fantastic thing about Our Ancestors)’, till 2 February 2022, Southern Guild Gallery, Cape City. southernguild.co.za (opens in new tab)