Southern Guild cultivates and propels new forms of expression that disrupt the hierarchies between functionality and fine art. The gallery traces its roots to the utilitarian and socially embedded role that African art has played historically.
Founded in 2008, Southern Guild has pioneered the functional art and collectible design category on the African continent, propelling its artists and designers to make globally relevant, original work. The gallery’s rigorous curatorial programme has shaped the world’s perceptions of African design, forging a unique vernacular with strong narrative and substance. As the gallery evolved, its remit broadened to encompass contemporary fine art, with a focus on emerging perspectives and unconventional techniques by artists from across Africa.
The gallery works closely with its artists and designers to produce new work characterised by unprecedented modes of making, cross-disciplinary collaborations, contemporary craft, sustainability within luxury and the role of design for social impact. Southern Guild is unique on the continent both for its hands-on involvement in facilitating production and its interest in the intersection of art and design.
A very important aspect of the work undertaken by the gallery – through its collaborations with eminent global institutions, foundations and museums – is to contribute to our deeper understanding of humanitarian, environmental and societal concerns with targeted projects, large-scale installations and immersive experiences. The artists represented explore personal narratives, cultural structures and social change.
The first African gallery to present at Design Miami (2011) and at Christie’s London’s annual design auction (2015), Southern Guild shows regularly at Design Miami in the US and Basel, and has participated in PAD London, The Salon Art & Design and Collective in New York, and at Design Days Dubai.
Works by Southern Guild artists have been acquired by leading private collections, foundations and institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), Vitra Design Museum (Weil am Rhein), Denver Art Museum, Mint Museum (Charlotte) Philadelphia Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Loewe Foundation (Spain).
Guild Design Fair
A glimpse into Africa’s first international collectible design fair, including behind-the-scenes interviews with the founders, artists, gallerists and sponsors–by acclaimed filmmaker Gavin Elder.
Guild Design Fair
The story behind the artistic collaborations and dynamic works launched at the second Guild Design Fair, with its impressive line-up of many of the world’s leading collectible design galleries.
A look at Porky Hefer’s process as he works on his Endangered project, presented at Design Miami/ Basel 2018 by Southern Guild and SFA Advisory. Produced in collaboration with craft groups in Cape Town, the sculptures were sold to benefit the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation.
Our Partnership with BMW
Southern Guild is proud to partner with BMW South Africa on a year-round programme of design-led projects and events pairing luxury-class motoring with the best of South African design. With its focus on excellence, performance and leading-edge design, BMW takes absolute creative freedom in all its cultural activities –which is asessential for groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business.
Southern Guild partners with BMW South Africa to go behind the scenes with gallery co-founders Trevyn and Julian McGowan during lockdown. When the pandemic struck, we found different ways of working, staying agile in order to keep moving forward. Some of our artists moved into their studios or set up makeshift workshops at home, in order to continue producing work. It required an innovative mindset - the kind of problem-solving that drives creativity. The resulting pieces are on show in 'Solace', our group show running from 29 October until 4 December 2020.
Similarly, BMW South Africa has been ahead of the curve with BMW Anywhere, its digital-first purchase experience that gives you all the benefits of a brick and mortar dealership. So, wherever you go, a dealership goes with you – a new way to buy BMW.
Andile Dyalvane: ‘iThongo’ (Ancestral Dreamscape)
Presented in cooperation with BMW South Africa, this short documentary follows the making of 'iThongo', ceramic artist Andile Dyalvane's latest collection, co-presented by Southern Guild (Cape Town) and Friedman Benda (New York) galleries. The collection of ceramic chairs was first showcased in its entirety at Dyalvane's rural village, Ngobozana, in the Eastern Cape province to honour his ancestors and the community that raised him.
Justine Mahoney: Mage
Sculptor Justine Mahoney talks about her latest series of figurative bronze sculptures, and her collage process through which she forms her characters. To accompany her exhibition, BMW and Southern Guild commissioned Justine to design a limited edition of collage prints to commemorate the launch of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. The artwork mixes science fiction and traditional African culture to imagine what the next generation of creative African thinkers could look like.
Stanislaw Trzebinski: In the Absence of Light
The making of Kenyan sculptor Stanislaw Trzebinski's solo collection of work 'In the Absence of Light' for Southern Guild gallery, which included a custom wrap for the new BMW Z4 Roadster. The organic pattern he designed to cover the car is based on his interpretation of Turing patterns, created using the algorithms of growth found in natural forms such as coral.
Commissioned by BMW to mark its visionary support of forward-thinking design, this film by Gavin Elder takes us inside the mind of Conrad HIcks, South Africa's foremost artist-blacksmith. Made on the occasion of Conrad's solo exhibition, 'Implement', at Southern Guild, it explores the role of toolmaking in human evolution and features a score by Italian composer Alessandro Gigli, made from sounds captured inside Conrad's studio.
A look back at 10 years of Southern Guild’s trajectory, from the inception of African collectible design to global recognition – told through a BMW X4 illustrated by Atang Tshikare.
Let’s talk about courage,
And why we need it more than ever.
Courage is independent and disruptive.
Courage questions, shatters and awakens.
We need bold, courageous voices.
All of us. We need fresh thinkers with optimism.
Daring dreamers who don’t accept ‘no’ for an answer.
We believe in the front runners. The avant-garde.
Those who fight stagnation and backwardness.
Courage only knows forward.
Driving the pioneers of our culture to inspire tomorrow.
To create a sublime kind of new.
Reaching a superior level of excellence.
This is where a new kind of luxury is born.