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          Design Miami LA 2024 - Southern Guild
          Design Miami LA 2024 - Southern Guild

          Design Miami Los Angeles

          Southern Guild is proud to announce its participation in the inaugural edition of Design Miami Los Angeles, taking place at an historic private estate in Holmby Hills from 16 to 20 May 2024.

          Reimagined for a domestic setting, the fair’s West Coast debut presents site-specific exhibitions of collectible design and artworks spread across the three-acre estate designed by the late African-American architect Paul R. Williams.

          Southern Guild brings a distinctive point of difference within this intimate environment, exhibiting a collection of handcrafted work by leading African artists and designers from its roster. The gallery’s presentation occupies a grand, ground-floor living room leading directly from the entrance to the house and opening up on to expansive views of the garden beyond. Encompassing both collectible design and contemporary art, the work on show is a rich exploration of scale and materiality. Highlights include two photographic works from Zanele Muholi’s acclaimed Somnyama Ngonyama (Hail the Dark Lioness) series, a sinuously curved bronze desk with hand-beaded curtain by Rich Mnisi, an immersive, animal-inspired seating pod by Porky Hefer, a bronze sculpture by Zizipho Poswa, fantastical bronze and hand-blown glass lights by Stanislaw Trzebinski, hand-thrown ceramic chairs by Chuma Maweni, and abstract monochromatic paintings made with engine oil and salt on linen by Alexandra Karakashian.

          Visible through the room’s large windows is a monumental ceramic and bronze totem from Poswa’s most recent solo, Indyebo yakwaNtu (Black Bounty), standing sentry in the middle of the garden. The sculpture references the white-beaded “isacholo” bracelet often worn by elderly Xhosa women for its healing properties – a work that “celebrates the heritage of the people who birthed me,” says the artist. It forms part of Design at Large, a special section of over-scaled outdoor works curated by the fair, along with a sculptural concrete chaise in which Rich Mnisi pays homage to his own matrilineal heritage. Elsewhere, a tall timber and ceramic sculpture by Andile Dyalvane is included in the fair’s Podium section. The work’s shape evokes the mountainous landscape of the artist’s rural home in the Eastern Cape, while its surface designs reference the African scarification with which his work has become synonymous.

          The presence of these works on the estate, designed by Williams during an era of racial segregation, offers a sensitive re-reading of this historic space – one that is both declarative and intimate. Williams was the first Black member of the American Institute of Architects in 1923 who designed multiple iconic Hollywood buildings including the homes of celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Cary Grant.

          Having opened a second location in Melrose Hill, Los Angeles, in February this year, Southern Guild fortifies this tether to the United States, rooting the work of African artists in the local terrain. Design Miami LA coincides with the opening of the gallery’s second exhibition in the space, an autobiographical solo exhibition by Zanele Muholi offering insights into the evolution of their creative practice. Opening on Saturday, 18 May and running until 13 July, ZANELE MUHOLI includes the largest presentation of the visual activist’s bronze sculpture, alongside new and iconic works from their various photographic series.

          At Design Miami LA Muholi will take part in a panel discussion on Friday, 17 May, on the topic of artistic practice as a holistic way of life encompassing engagement with the status quo. Further details of this event and others involving Southern Guild artists to follow closer to the time.