This South African ceramicist is using her work to celebrate her Xhosa ancestry, showcasing a range of stories and mystical elements from her background. Zizipho Poswa prefers clay as her medium, and combines it with bronze, using the materials to depict African hairstyles as well as traditional vessel forms. Her recent exhibition, titled “uBuhle boKhokho,” meaning “Beauty of Our Ancestors” incorporated shades of black and bronze throughout, and was very well received in the local artistic community. These ceramics honor and celebrate the culture and heritage of her ancestors while preserving their beauty for generations to come.
Zizipho Poswa Is Using Ceramics to Celebrate Her Xhosa Ancestry
Source: Hayden Phipps/Courtesy Southern Guild
Ceramicist and designer Zizipho Poswa has been crafting her heritage in clay for nearly two decades. She experiments with various materials such as bronze, but clay remains her favorite medium. The objects she creates often cover a wide range of her ancestry.
Born in Mthatha, a small town in Eastern Cape, Poswa found her love for art from her mother, who noticed her interest in it from a young age and encouraged her to explore it. After studying textile design in college, she worked in the design and textile industry for a year before transitioning to a more conceptual direction, working with her business partner Andile Dyalvane and five other people whom she met at school. The skilled team built an imaginative story that birthed other stories.
Poswa’s works display the beauty of ancestral stories, with a very contemplative intuition. Mysticism, rituals, religion, and her Xhosa ancestry inspire her work. In her latest exhibition held at Cape Town’s Southern Guild gallery, she showcased clay and bronze sculptures that combined African hairstyles with traditional vessel forms. The exhibition attempted to bring a sense of visual comfort to the ever-expanding field of Black art showcasing 20 monumental ceramics alongside a photographic series that captured the artist’s creation of 12 hairstyles.
Poswa’s sculpture pieces at her debut solo exhibition titled “iLobola” celebrated her culture and heritage regarding weddings. Visitors interacted with the 12 ceramic porcelain pieces, the first bronze pieces she ever attempted. Her most recent exhibit, “uBuhle boKhokho,” meaning “Beauty of Our Ancestors” celebrated culture and heritage while preserving its beauty for future generations. She incorporated black tones to the exhibition, which blended well with the different shades of bronze. Throughout her exhibition, Poswa also used photography to complement the ceramics.
The response to Poswa’s work has been strongly positive. Her works provoke a sense of nostalgia and remembrance. They bring a sense of visual comfort, and her most recent exhibition drew quite a crowd, with over 500 people attending. Poswa’s skillfully crafted ceramics are a reminder of the beauty in ancestral stories and the importance of preserving one’s cultural heritage.