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.
About Andile Dyalvane
Widely considered one of South Africa’s foremost ceramic artists, Dyalvane was born in 1978 in the small village of Ngobozana, near Qobo-Qobo in the Eastern Cape, He grew up farming and looking after his father’s cattle herd – developing 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.
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, he and Zizipho Poswa co-founded Imiso Ceramics.
Dyalvane’s work is in the collections of the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Yingge Ceramic Museum in Taipei, Iziko South African National Gallery (SANG) in Cape Town, NMMU Art Museum in Port Elizabeth, and the Corobrik Ceramics Collection of Pretoria Art Museum in Pretoria, South Africa. He has presented his ceramics in four exhibitions at Southern Guild and two exhibitions at Friedman Benda, as well as museums all over the world, including the National Art Museum of China, the Vitra Design Museum, and Iziko SANG.
A member of the International Academy of Ceramics, Dyalvane has received residencies in Denmark, France, the United States, UK, and Taiwan, and shares his knowledge through master classes and workshops in South Africa and internationally. He is the recipient of the 2015 Design Foundation Icon Award.