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Zizipho Poswa is a Cape Town-based ceramicist whose large-scale, collectible work takes inspiration from her own narrative as a Xhosa woman and artist living in contemporary South Africa. Alongside lauded South African ceramicist Andile Dyalvane, she co-founded Imiso Ceramics, whose handmade tableware has earned the studio an international following.

Zizipho grew up in the town of Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, a stronghold of Xhosa culture. She was raised by her mother, a teacher, who recognised her creativity from a young age and did everything within her means to support it. She studied surface design, majoring in textiles, at the Port Elizabeth Technikon and draws on this textile knowledge to amalgamate the visual stimuli she encounters in her daily life into a simplified pattern language.

Zizipho’s abstract yet tactile hand-pinched bowls, vessels and vases celebrate her love of colour and pattern. Her work for Southern Guild explores her personal experience and heritage in monumental sculptural pieces. Her totemic Umthwalo series is an ode to the load carried by African women and the traditional tasks of gathering wood, collecting water and taking bucket loads of clothing to wash in the river. For the artist, who witnessed these daily rituals as a young girl, this balancing act is analogous to the multiple life-sustaining roles that African women play as they bridge traditional and modern worlds.

The stacked, totemic forms of Umthwalo give way to a monolithic verticality in Ukukhula I and Ukukhula II. This pair of sculptures convey the sense of a growth spurt and plays with the duality of masculine and feminine, aggression and protection. They are indicative of an artist who has come into her own.

Zizipho’s work was acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in 2019 and is in important private collections internationally. Her ceramics were included in Deeper than Text, presented by 1stdibs and the Female Design Council at the 1stdibs Gallery in Manhattan in 2019. She has exhibited at Design Miami, PAD London and The Salon Art + Design in New York, and received the prestigious Fellow Award from Ceramic South Africa.

Zizipho Poswa
Ukukhula I

Glazed stoneware
33 x 33 x 102 cm
Unique

Zizipho Poswa
Ukukhula I

Glazed stoneware
33 x 33 x 102 cm
Unique

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Zizipho Poswa
Ukukhula II

Glazed stoneware
46 x 46 x 106 cm
Unique

Zizipho Poswa
Ukukhula II

Glazed stoneware
46 x 46 x 106 cm
Unique

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Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo VI

Glazed stoneware clay
55 x 33 x 100 cm
Unique

Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo VI

Glazed stoneware clay
55 x 33 x 100 cm
Unique

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Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo I

Walford white clay
50 x 50 75 cm
One-Off

Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo I

Walford white clay
50 x 50 75 cm
One-Off

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Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo II

Walford white clay
42 x 42 82 cm
One-Off

Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo II

Walford white clay
42 x 42 82 cm
One-Off

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Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo III

Walford white clay
40 x 40 x 94 cm
One-Off

Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo III

Walford white clay
40 x 40 x 94 cm
One-Off

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Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo IV

Walford white clay
42 x 42 x 83 cm
One-Off

Zizipho Poswa
Umthwalo IV

Walford white clay
42 x 42 x 83 cm
One-Off

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