Renowned South African ceramic artist, Zizipho Poswa, launches her debut solo exhibition in the United States on Monday 15th May.
Southern Guild, the only gallery in Africa representing locally-made collectible design, and Galerie56, a cultural space founded by Lee F. Mindel, FAIA, will host the exhibition titled iiNtsika zeSizwe (Pillars of the Nation) in New York.
The exhibition will feature seven monumental bronze sculptures by Poswa, depicting precariously arranged objects, including a barrel, a pile of sticks, and bundles of fruits and vegetables, all of which appear to be in motion. The sculptures, standing at varying heights of up to 1.6m, use a rich array of bronze patinas and finishes to create textured and rounded forms. These sculptures celebrate the life-sustaining roles that African women play in both traditional and contemporary society.
Poswa is inspired by her Xhosa heritage and the strength and resilience of African women. Her sculptures elevate to heroic status the everyday practice of “umthwalo”, where women carry heavy items on their heads.
Poswa notes that her exhibition is a tribute to her mother and the community of women who raised her and others like them, whose contributions to society are often unrecognised. She describes these women as “the pillars of our nation” and seeks to immortalise their efforts and sacrifices in the lustre and permanence of bronze.
The exhibition also features a series of large photographs commissioned for the exhibition, showing Poswa in the act of “umthwalo” in her rural village outside Butterworth in the Eastern Cape. The photographs provide a glimpse into the daily rituals of Xhosa women and highlight the endurance required to balance heavy burdens and walk long distances.
Poswa’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Loewe Foundation, among others. She has participated in group exhibitions in New York, Paris, Hamburg, and Liverpool and presented her work at major art fairs worldwide. She was also a featured artist in the inaugural Indian Ocean Craft Triennial in Perth, Australia.
In June, Poswa will be the artist-in-residence at the Centre for Contemporary Ceramics, at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), where she will continue to explore and develop her unique artistic style.
iiNtsika zeSizwe is open to the public from May 15th at Galerie56 in Tribeca, New York, from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.