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          Compressing Materiality - Ebony/Curated, 2024 - Andile Dyalvane
          Dyalvane and Maweni in 'Compressing Materiality' at EBONY/CURATED, Franschhoek

          20 May 2024 (0 min) read

          Compressing Materiality - Ebony/Curated, 2024 - Chuma Maweni

          Ceramic artists Andile Dyalvane and Chuma Maweni are presenting works alongside 13 other artists in the group exhibition Compressing Materiality, currently on show at EBONY/CURATED's Bordeaux House gallery in Franschhoek until the 30th of June, 2024.


          From ancient times, the materiality of clay has presented itself as a
          metaphor for human self-transformation. In recent decades, visual artists have leveraged this metaphor to explore the boundaries of visual art through creative experimentation. This has led to the development of innovative techniques and styles that push the limits of materiality and artistic expression. ‘Compressing Materiality’ brings to the fore notable artists exploring the mutable materiality of clay, within the contemporary South African context.

          Existing in multiple temporalities and forms, both malleable and fragile, clay draws on various transformational agents to reflect culture and history serving as a repository of collective memory and heritage. Its enduring materiality transcends temporal and spatial boundaries, fostering dialogue and understanding across diverse cultural landscapes.

          In the hands of an artist, clay transcends its inert state, undergoing
          metamorphosis through the alchemy of skill, imagination and fire. By
          demanding physical engagement- a communion between hand and
          material- the artwork is imbued with an innate vitality.

          Clay moulds, sculpts, and shapes, yielding to the artist's will, yet
          simultaneously asserting its own agency. It captures the essence of
          transformation, mirroring the perpetual flux of existence.

          A practice which emerges from working with the earth and mirroring nature in its process, best described in the reflections of artist Katherine Glenday, who shares:

          "Creativity is an open-ended and receptive process and to blister and
          crack, to pour, splash and run are all occurrences implicit in the processes of nature. These expressions have been employed by different makers from all cultures throughout time, and yet it is the personal idiosyncratic signature of each maker which gives the defining aspect that separates one creation from another - even in the midst of a shared humanity."

          Participating artists include Ben Orkin, Alistair Blair, Clementina van der Walt, Hennie Meyer, Frank Nthunya and others.


          Dyalvane's uMbandavu (Beans, Sorghum Dish) is made in continuation of his Idlala (Grain Silo) series . The ‘silo’ in this instance, is the holder of heritage and culture as Dyalvane attempts to preserve the Xhosa term, ’Idladla’, and language itself. The title of this work is based on a dish that, in contemporaneity, we no longer have access to.

          Dyalvane’s upbringing as a farmer and someone who would cultivate the land, celebrating the Spring/Autumn harvest and change of seasons, has inspired his focus as an artist. He explores the transition in time, through food, language, ceremonies, dances and sounds. The Idladla series pays homage to these traditions and acts as a reminder to document and preserve the rightful meanings of words in the isiXhosa language for future generations to understand the cultural significance of their backgrounds.

          Maweni's two works, uNozala IX (Parent) and Inci III (Last Born), showcase the artist's signature shapes, textured patterns, and precise incisions, overall highlighting his meticulous craftsmanship. Inspired by the utilitarian forms and techniques of Zulu and Xhosa ceramics, Maweni continues to maintain and expand on his position as a distinctly contemporary South African ceramicist.

          Images courtesy of EBONY/CURATED | Karl Rodgers.