Instagram Heroes: 8 Artists Shaping Contemporary South African Ceramics

From sculptural works to everyday objects, the practice of working with clay travels easily from high art to the mundane and, perhaps more so than any other medium, thoroughly explores the in-between. It’s a fascinating genre with a history that dates back to 14000 BC. In the era of Instagram, this ancient form of art making and object shaping is more prolific than ever… a testament to its incredible versatility and appeal. Here we profile eight local artists and makers shaping contemporary ceramics in SA.

Jade Paton

Cape Town-based ceramic artist Jade Paton treads the line between sculptural artworks and functional forms with her contemporary clay vessels. Working with organic shapes and earthy, pastel tones, Paton’s creations feel both ancient and contemporary. Follow @jadepatonceramics on Instagram.

Andile Dyalvane

As one of South Africa’s foremost ceramic artists and the co-founder of Imiso Ceramics, the Eastern Cape-born Andile Dyalvane needs no introduction. Guided by a deep spiritual connection to his Xhosa ancestors, Dyalvane’s large and complex ceramic artworks are a metaphorical vessel through which he seeks to honour his cultural heritage and traditions, and share a journey of healing. Follow @andiledyalvane on Instagram.

Lungiswa Joe

Captivated by the age-old medium of clay as a “keeper of times, history making and story,” Lungiswa Joe started her journey with ceramics in 2018. There’s a lively quality to her expressive clay pieces, which are born of intentional listening and, through their naming, honour the women in her family. Follow @lungiswajoe on Instagram.

Alexia Klompje

“Through clay I truly meet myself and explore my creativity,” says Alexia Klompje – artist and founder of Klomp Ceramics. Her ceramic pieces are bold in their simplicity and imbued with symbolism, with her most recent collection of functional and ceremonial objects taking shape as an ode to the earth. Follow @klompceramics on Instagram.

Githan Coopoo

According to the IG bio of the self-taught jeweler and sculptor, “clay is the queer agenda”. Coopoo is fascinated by the way we live our lives, how we impact one another and the stories we tell – and this broad theme echoes through their tongue in cheek ceramic sculptures and handmade clay earrings and pendants. Follow @githancoopoo on Instagram.

Lucinda Mudge

The beautiful, glitzy and richly textured decorative clay vases of Lucinda Mudge use humour to broach serious issues around life in South Africa and human nature. “By making ceramic vases I am fitting into a genre that is almost as ancient as humankind itself,” says Mudge, though there’s no denying her work is also firmly rooted in the here and now. Follow @lucinda_mudge on Instagram.

Ceri Muller

South African ceramic artist Ceri Muller currently lives and works in Amsterdam, creating clay vessels and other characterful one-off pieces. “The body of work I continually produce is inspired by the human body and the fluid, organic shapes found in the natural world,” she says. Especially when seen together in a collection, great and small, her works allude to a fantastical other-world of Muller’s own imagining. Follow @cerimuller_studio on Instagram.

Zizipho Poswa

The co-founder of Imiso Ceramics, Zizipho Poswa’s tactile hand-pinched bowls, vessels and vases celebrate her love of colour and pattern. In her totemic sculptural works, monumental in size, Poswa explores her Eastern Cape upbringing, cultural heritage and personal experiences as a Xhosa woman living in contemporary South Africa. Follow @zizipo_poswa on Instagram.

Are you an Instagram Hero?

If you’re a creator or business owner in Sub-Saharan Africa using IG to grow your practice or build your brand, you qualify to enter our monthly Instagram Heroes awards series. The Creator category includes art, design and craft, as well as creatives and makers across all fields. The Business category is for local entrepreneurs, agencies, start-ups and well-established enterprises. Submit your work using the form below.

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