Clay works speak of ancestorsComment on this story
MORE Fired Up is a group exhibition featuring more than 12 contemporary ceramicists on display at the KZNSA Gallery.
The artists involved are Carla da Cruz, Isaac Nkosinathi Khanyile, Juliet Armstrong, Kim Bagley, Ian Calder, Astrid Dahl, Leanne Frisinger, Raksha Gobardan, Carol Hayward Fell, Fahmeeda Omar, Mhairi Pattenden, Sharon Weaving, Clive Sithole, Georg Hendrik Stroebel, and Martha Zettler, a list that includes the students of some of the artists.
In an interview with Tonight, Da Cruz and Khanyile said they became involved in art from an early age.
Da Cruz studied art at school and it was always her favourite subject: “It was really the only choice for me to study further. When I began studying, this entire world of art was opened up to me and all the amazing possibilities, particularly working in clay.”
Describing her technique, she said: “I began working in porcelain in the past few years. The medium of clay is incredibly fascinating and challenging to me.
“It can be unpredictable and limiting, but when one learns to work clay within those limitations, the rewards are great.”
Da Cruz continued: “I feel very few artists in this country can survive on producing and selling work alone.
“Many teach to supplement their income and work for exhibitions and galleries. I teach part-time at DUT in drawing and ceramics which leaves little time for making my art, but I make sure I find the time in the evenings and on the weekends.”
Speaking of her goals, Da Cruz said she hoped to exhibit internationally and to keep on producing work.
According to the other ceramicist in the exhibition, Khanyile, he was taught art by his teacher Pat Xhoza when he was in Grade 6.
“I remember we did crafts in primary school.
“At home I was always involved in making things from home-made items such as wire.
“I also played with clay a lot and this was normal for an African child because you don’t have toys so you make your own,” he recalled.
Specialising in ceramics and sculpture, he developed a love for natural materials and makes use of clay and beads to produce his objects.
Khanyile explained what his work included in More Fired Up represents: “It’s about our roots, about who we are as Africans, where we come from and how we connect with the rest of the world.
“It involves the old traditions and how those traditions are sometimes forgotten in modern times, as well as how it will affect us in the future.
“Part of it is lost, so my work is a reminder of who we are, it speaks of the ancestors, how we are connected with them today.”
His biggest challenge has been getting recognition: “We need to be recognised in our own country before we become famous in other countries.
“It’s hard, especially for visual artists. Visual artists are not even known, it’s like no one knows they exist. We are all crying as visual artists, but I feel black artists are far worse off in terms of the level of recognition.”
• The exhibition runs until Sunday at noon. For info, call 031 277 1705.