Southern Guild returns to Design Miami in December 2022 with Inkundla, an exhibition of handcrafted furniture and objects presented in an imagined domestic environment. Rich in their physicality and form, the works are bound together by a strong sense of materiality and by their exploration of spiritual themes. The booth will feature specially commissioned pieces by 16 of the continent’s most celebrated artists and designers, including ceramicists Zizipho Poswa, Andile Dyalvane and Madoda Fani; internationally renowned artists Nandipha Mnthambo, Porky Hefer and Rich Mnisi; design duo Dokter and Misses, and sculptor Stanislaw Trzebinski.
Beyond the literal translation of “arena” or “court”, Inkundla derives from the Xhosa term for the area at the forefront of a homestead’s cattle enclosure. It is a communal space for the sacred and mundane, for the exchanging of ideas, the unpacking of the day-to-day and the welcoming of all people.
With three distinct areas for unwinding, dining and connecting to the outdoors, Southern Guild’s booth features works whose narrative and symbolism elevate the everyday towards the divine. All things made by the human hand with such intent are imbued with an energetic significance capable of transforming our known worlds. Most of the works exhibited this year were made especially for Design Miami, including pieces from much-anticipated new collections by some of the artists. Highlights include a number of large-scale ceramic works by Poswa, Dyalvane and Fani; a richly patinated bronze standing light by Stanislaw Trzebinski; a hand-painted server by Dokter and Misses; and two works from fashion designer Mnisi’s first show of collectible furniture. (See BOOTH HIGHLIGHTS below).
In the 11 years since Southern Guild became the first African gallery to present at Design Miami, the gallery continues to spearhead the collectible design and functional art category on the continent, supporting artists and designers in producing complex, genre-defying work.
COMPLETE LIST OF ARTISTS
Dokter and Misses
A pair of ceramic and bronze sculptures by Zizipho Poswa, colossal in their scale and intricacy, mark the beginning of another ambitious chapter for the artist. Forming part of Poswa’s much-anticipated 2022 solo, uBuhle boKhokho (Beauty of Our Ancestors), both works draw inspiration from the elaborate hairstyles traditionally worn by women across the African continent. Through this cultural lens, hair becomes a script for language, for the carrying of meaning and the celebration of self as an act of defiance.
Andile Dyalvane’s three ceramic forms pay homage to the grounding power of nature. The works are part of his new iNgqweji (Bird’s Nest) series, based on smaller studies presented by Southern Guild at Design Miami last year. The series was inspired by the large nests of sociable weaver birds that the artist spent time studying on recent travels to the plains of the Karoo desert and the Northern Cape of South Africa. The artist incorporated copper into his ceramic for the first time, forging the textured strips of metal himself.
Four large-scale ceramic sculptures by Madoda Fani stand as guardians of this otherworldly home space. The burnished and smoke-fired terracotta forms bear the delicately carved patterns of Fani’s distinct hand. Both Fani and Dyalvane continue to cement themselves as two of the continent’s foremost ceramicists. Both artists’ works were recently shortlisted for the 2022 edition of the prestigious Loewe Craft Prize, with Dyalvane receiving a Special Mention.
Kenyan-born sculptor Stanislaw Trzebinski offers a vibrantly patinated bronze standing light from his latest body of work, Solastalgia, which imagines biological life beyond the event of ecological collapse. The psychedelic work was the result of Trzebinski’s explorative use of patina tints and his first collaborative venture into hand-blown glass.
Dokter and Misses’ new hand-painted LALA Limo server brings angular planes into conversation with a bristling energy. A surreal scene of speckled eggs appears to float across its surface. Commemorating the birth of the design duo’s first child, the server speaks of tension and potential, science and nature, trauma and joy.
Rich Mnisi’s Nyoka (Snake) console and Vutlhari (Wisdom) chandelier lend a tense sensuality to the booth. These pieces formed part of Mnisi’s first solo exhibition of collectible furniture, which drew on his family history and African mythology, and played with the duality of fear and beauty. The designer’s collaborative approach, cross-disciplinary mindset and gender-neutral fashion ethos are here embodied in a fluidity of shape and line at every turn.