Andile Dyalvane is one of South Africa’s foremost ceramic artists. Guided by a deep spiritual connection to his Xhosa ancestors, Dyalvane’s complex, large-scale ceramic artworks are a metaphorical vessel through which he seeks to honour his cultural traditions and share his journey of healing.
Born in 1978 in the small village of Ngobozana, near Qobo-Qobo in the rural Eastern Cape province of South Africa, Dyalvane grew up farming and looking after his father’s cattle herd – sewing a deep connection to the land and his Xhosa culture that resonates powerfully through his work today. His medium of clay or “umhlaba” (mother earth) is, at its most fundamental, a life-affirming connection to the soil. But by providing a medium for storytelling, it is also an essential energetic link to his past, present and future.
Dyalvane completed a National Diploma in Art and Design at Sivuyile Technical College in Gugulethu, Cape Town, followed by a National Diploma in Ceramic Design from Port Elizabeth Technikon in 2003. In 2005, together with fellow NMMU graduate Zizipho Poswa, he co-founded Imiso Ceramics, whose handmade tableware and vessels have earned the studio an international following.
His most ambitious body of work to date, Idladla (grain silo), was exhibited at Southern Guild in 2017. The collection pivots around the central role that maize cultivation plays in rural African life: no homestead is considered complete without a structure to store grain. The cyclical, life-sustaining practices of land cultivation are an embodiment of collective effort and restorative spirituality.
Dyalvane has presented his ceramics in exhibitions at galleries, fairs and museums all over the world. His work was included in Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design, which premiered at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rheim, Germany, in 2014 before travelling to other major international museums, and in Graphic Africa at Habitat’s Platform Gallery during the 2013 London Design Festival. He is represented in New York by Friedman Benda, whose 2016 solo exhibition of his work, Camagu, was met with critical acclaim. Southern Guild has exhibited his work at The Salon Art + Design and NY Now, Design Miami, Design Miami/ Basel, Design Days Dubai, Art Santa Fe International Art Fair, and AKAA Art Fair.
A member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Dyalvane has earned residencies around the world, most recently at Clay Gulgong in Australia in 2018, and shares his knowledge through master classes and workshops in South Africa and internationally. He has been included in museum shows at the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) and the Iziko South African National Gallery (SANG) in Cape Town, and has work in the collections of the Yingge Ceramic Museum in Taipei, Iziko SANG, NMMU Art Museum in Port Elizabeth, and the Corobrik Ceramics Collection.
He collaborated with Chilean design, architecture, and art studio GT2P (Great Things 2 People) on a ceramic installation that was showcased at the 2017 Design Indaba Conference, and co-founded the Imbadu Collective, which facilitates creative collaborations among South African artists such as Atang Tshikare, Laduma Ngxokolo and Trevor Stuurman.
Dyalvane is the recipient of the 2015 Design Foundation Icon Award and was the Feature Designer of the Year at 100% Design South Africa in 2018, where he presented his Iindonga Bowl collection. He was included in Artsy’s selection of 20 artists shaping the future of ceramics, and was named one of the Top 200 Young South Africans by the Mail & Guardian newspaper in 2011 and the VISI magazine Artist of the Year in 2009.
Dyalvane’s most recent solo, iThongo (dreamscape), refers to the medium through which the ancestors’ messages – imiyalezo – are transmitted. The collection premiered in Dyalvane’s rural village in the Eastern Cape, and was exhibited at Southern Guild in Cape Town (Dec 2020) and then Friedman Benda in New York (May 2021). He created a series (24 in total) of large-scale ceramic chairs, exhibited in a circular arrangement in the manner of traditional Xhosa ceremonies.