Southern Guild returns to Design Miami in 2023 with a presentation of functional and sculptural work by 11 designers and artists including Zizipho Poswa, Porky Hefer, Andile Dyalvane and Rich Mnisi. Design Miami takes place 5-10 December at Convention Center Drive and 19th Street in Miami Beach.
Southern Guild’s presentation at Design Miami – where it has exhibited regularly since 2011 – comes just two months before it launches its first gallery in the United States. The opening of the 5,000 sqft space on Western Avenue in the new art hub of Melrose Hill, just along the road from David Zwirner’s new LA outpost, marks a milestone moment for the South African gallery, whose artist roster, gallery programme and fair participation have expanded significantly over the past few years.
The gallery’s booth brings together a collection of richly handcrafted objects in which nature’s presence is unleashed in a profusion of forms that twist, morph and grow before our eyes. With an emphasis on three-dimensionality, these works encompass moments of play and quiet reflection, escape and wild release – perhaps best exemplified by the sinuous duality of a snake painted in pastel hues onto Dokter and Misses’ Hug Me Like a Python, LALA Limo Series server.
Highlights of Southern Guild’s presentation this year include:
- A pair of seating pods by Porky Hefer, made especially for Design Miami, signalling a turn towards minimalist form by the internationally renowned designer. His collections of sculptural seating environments are speculative interventions that take their cue from nature’s unerring adaptability, resourcefulness and interconnection. Encased in hand-stitched leather, John and Yoko represent a lion and a dove, respectively. With their plush, wool-lined interiors, these works are an ode to the bed-ins of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Hefer will have a solo exhibition at Galerie56 in New York in May 2024.
- Two pieces of collectible furniture by Rich Mnisi, drawing on his XiTsonga heritage and fluid approach to form. A desk with beaded curtain and a twisting chandelier with scale-like shades – both bronze – develop the snake-inspired design language of Mnisi’s 2021 Nyoka. The bold three-dimensionality of his work encourages multiple viewpoints -– an apt embodiment of Mnisi’s commitment to queer expression. His second solo exhibition opens at Southern Guild’s Cape Town gallery in February 2024.
- Three large-scale bronze sculptures by Zizipho Poswa inspired by the practice of ‘umthwalo’ (load), whereby Xhosa women transport heavy items on their heads, often walking long distances in rural areas. Part of the artist’s iiNtsika zeSizwe (Pillars of the Nation) exhibition at Galerie56 in New York earlier this year, these works are named after specific women within the artist’s extended community. This past summer, Poswa produced her most monumental ceramic series to date as an artist-in-residence at the Center for Contemporary Ceramics, California State University, Long Beach, which will debut when Southern Guild opens its Los Angeles gallery in February 2024.
- Kenyan artist Stanislaw Trzebinski’s S-shaped bronze table and series of otherworldly lights and vessels are an imagining of the metamorphosised creatures that arise on Earth after climate devastation. A trio of standing lights seemingly unfurl from the earth, each of their bronze tendrils holding a hand-blown glass bulb, mottled in bacteria-like dispersions of green and blue. These fantastical works make use of organic forms and tinted patinas in vivid hues.
- A large-scale ceramic seat by Andile Dyalvane will feature on the booth and is a piece from his ground-breaking collection, iThongo (Ancestral Dreamscape). This refers to the medium through which messages are transmitted from his Xhosa ancestors, a vital current of energy that runs throughout his artistic practice. Hand-coiled in terracotta clay, the seats were conceived to be used in ceremonial and spiritual gatherings, arranged in a circle around a fire hearth and herbal offerings.
Other notable works on the booth will be an intricate bronze wall-hung sculpture by Cape Town-based designer Jesse Ede, ceramics by Franco-Beninese artist King Houndekpinkou, hand-carved sculptural timber seats by arborist Adam Birch, a mythological bronze figure by Justine Mahoney, a botanical-inspired table by Charles Haupt and the above-mentioned python-emblazoned server by Dokter and Misses.
Both ceramic artist Andile Dyalvane and Southern Guild co-founder Trevyn McGowan will take part in the Design Miami/ Talks Program this year. McGowan is included in the panel discussion titled ‘The Story of Us’ which will focus on female design voices on the pleasures—and power— of rising together. This takes place on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, from 5:30PM – 6:30PM ET. Dyalvane will participate in ‘Healing Through Design’ on Friday, December 8, 2-3pm ET. Both talks will take place in the Design Miami/ Talks Theater.