A pair of large-scale ceramic sculptures by Zizipho Poswa has been acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Ukukhula I and Ukukhula II, which were made for Southern Guild’s Colour Field exhibition in July 2018, were a gift of the 2019 Decorative Arts and Design Acquisitions Committee (DA²), with additional support from Debbie and Mark Attanasio and Allison and Larry Berg.
“These new works by Zizipho Poswa expand LACMA’s strong holdings of international contemporary studio ceramics,” said Bobbye Tigerman, the museum’s curator of decorative arts and design.
Ukukhula I and Ukukhula II are indicative of an artist who has come into her own. Their monumental verticality conveys the sense of a growth spurt – “ukukhula” means growth in isiXhosa. An accomplished maker of bowls, vessels and vases, Zizipho began pushing her medium to a larger scale when she joined Southern Guild in 2018.
Using heightened colour (her trademark), expressive textures and abstracted shapes, these twin sculptures both summon and thwart our attention, alluding to the successes and struggles the artist has encountered along the way. Likewise, they play with the duality of masculine and feminine, aggression and protection – an apt and moving distillation of Zizipho’s experience as a Xhosa woman connected to her traditional heritage while staking her claim as a contemporary artist.
Zizipho’s work was recently included in Deeper than Text, presented by 1stdibs and the Female Design Council at the 1stdibs Gallery in Manhattan. She has exhibited at Design Miami and The Salon Art + Design in New York, and received the prestigious Fellow Award from Ceramic South Africa.