Xanthe Somers is a contemporary ceramicist specialising in the making of large-scale, intricate ceramic works. Born in 1992 in Harare, Zimbabwe, Somers studied Fine Art (Hons) at the University of Cape Town and was then awarded a grant to study a MA Postcolonial Culture and Global Policy at Goldsmiths, University of London. She graduated in 2020 with high distinction.
Somers’ practice is largely informed by the politics of aesthetics, and more significantly how the colonial history of Zimbabwe continues to manipulate aesthetic values. Her work as a ceramic sculptor looks at reimagining the everyday and examining the subtle treason of objects.
Through a sense of play, the use of bright colours, maximalist ornamentation, and oversized scale, the artist challenges prevailing heteronormative ideas associated with normalcy, beauty and refinement found in everyday, functional objects. Somers states, “We create utilitarian objects to serve us, but ultimately these objects tend to outlive us. These objects are not neutral, they carry within them the ideology in which they were created, and this legacy is not silent. These objects have an active and persuasive influence in shaping our visual reality.”
Somers’ has currently held four solo exhibitions, Rancid at Galerie Revel in Bordeaux, France (2022), A Vocabulary for Ghosts at First Floor Gallery Harare, Zimbabwe (2021), Hole not Whole at Fusion Art Gallery, Turin, Italy and The Intimacy of Objects at The Corridor, Harare, Zimbabwe (2016). Somers has also participated in numerous international fairs including Also Known as Africa in Paris, Collect Art Fair in London and Untitled Art in Miami.