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Jan 16, 2020 | Design

Andile Dyalvane presents the groundbreaking pieces he created in residence at Leach Pottery in the UK

Photo credit: Richard Keppel-Smith, Sarah White

In a show opening 18 January at Southern Guild, celebrated ceramic artist Andile Dyalvane’s extensive new collection – studio ceramics created during his recent residency at Leach Pottery in St Ives, Cornwall in the UK – will be presented to public for the first time.

Comprising more than 30 hand-built vessels, bowls and platters, this body of work is the result of a collaboration between Dyalvane and the Leach Pottery studio. Leach Pottery offers four residencies a year to foster an exchange of ideas and methods and Dyalvane was invited in recognition of his open-minded approach and his reputation for a unique style and technique. Dyalvane’s rural upbringing fostered a deep connection to the land and his Xhosa culture that unfailingly comes through in his work and his material of choice – clay – is both a connection to the soil and a medium for storytelling. These new pieces combine and the legacy of his own history and handiwork and the influence of his time at the studio.

The studio was founded in 1920 by Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada, and widely considered the birthplace of British studio pottery. And while this place is considered a stronghold of quintessentially British tradition, Dyalvane is wholly African in his practice. This contrast – of the artist’s African-inspired ceramics and Xhosa culture in the context of a British coastal village life – gives the work additional depth and many of the works include references to the local landscape and materials and engage with the storied history of the Leach studio.

Over the course of eight weeks he worked prolifically, creating pieces that exude a newfound dynamism. “One of the themes that runs through my work is soil erosion and the textures and revelations this creates. Hearing stories about how potters threw their rejected pots into the River Stennack, alongside the Leach Pottery building, some of my work has engaged with this idea and the use of shards. In another piece, I have explored bark textures from alongside the Stennack and used gritty inclusions of wood ash from the fireplace in the old pottery,” says Dyalvane.

The show will run until 29 February.

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