I’ve always wanted to do a solo show, creating works I’d only ever dreamed of producing.
It’s been my chance to realize designs that would otherwise have remained in my sketchbooks. Camagu references my gratitude.
Friedman Benda is excited to present Camagu, the first solo exhibition in America for South African artist Andile Dyalvane. The show, which includes approximately 30 large-scale clay works, runs from June 23 – August 19, 2016.
Camagu loosely translates from Xhosa to English as ‘I am grateful’ and is a spiritual expression of gratitude from Dyalvane to his ancestors. It also functions as a mantra for his practice, and he stamps the phrase on many of his works.
Taken as a whole, Camagu reads as a landscape of small architectures, illustrating a confluence of Dyalvane’s daily urban experience in Cape Town merged with the vernacular of his rural birthplace in the Eastern Cape.
The exhibition is populated by intricately shaped open and closed vessels, hanging and standing lamps, shelves, and screens, all of which bear incisions, stampings, and other marks. Inspired by ancestral practices and motifs, the incised symbols that detail each work act as homage to the significance of scarification rituals in the Xhosa culture. Traces of these traditions appear in his ceramic forms, where he uses bolts and typewriter keys found in street markets to create elaborate surface impressions.
A monumental wall hanging and one of the centerpieces of the exhibition is comprised of 17 of parts; color, surface modulations, and organicism are in flux, as they are in a city center. A two-part ceramic and wood screen is layered with vibrant and subtle stripes of color, suggesting speed. Multi-planar, angular forms mimic the new skyscrapers being constructed near Dyalvane’s studio in Cape Town. These bold forms simultaneously serve as elements of functionality and structural integrity—values integral to every piece by Dyalvane.