A Look at the Inspiration Behind Andile Dyalvane’s Striking Sculptures

November 30, 2020

By Rima Suqi


South African ceramist Andile Dyalvane is a widely celebrated artist across the continent, but he still finds his creative inspiration from his ancestral home about 500 miles east of his studio in Cape Town.

The 42-year-old artist creates complex, dramatic stoneware pieces—vases, bowls, chairs, and sculptural objects—many with abstract designs and tribal markings influenced by his native Xhosa culture. For “Ithongo” (Ancestral Dreamscape), his next show at Cape Town’s Southern Guild gallery in December (which will then travel to New York’s Friedman Benda gallery next year), he created 20 chairs with different symbols representing concepts like farmer, shaman, or the moon. The emblems came to him in “very vivid visions,” Dyalvane says, and represent that which he believes his community is losing due to the influence of Western culture and migration to South Africa’s urban areas. “These are messages from my ancestors,” he says. “They are helping us to remember. I am using this language, these symbols to communicate in shorthand.”


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