Andile Dyalvane grew up on a farm, looking after his father’s cattle in the Eastern Cape. Today he is an artist whose primary medium is derived from the earth. The Cape Town–based ceramist, a co-founder of Imiso Ceramics, has become known as South Africa’s master of clay. His intricate ceramic pieces, shaped by a profound spiritual connection to his Xhosa ancestors, hold and share narratives. Since his first solo international show, in 2016, Dyalvane has continuously sought to preserve his language, identity, and cultural traditions. His new body of work, on show at Cape Town’s Southern Guild gallery, is no exception.
The exhibition, “iThongo,” pays tribute to Dyalvane’s ancestors with a collection of 18 hand-coiled ceramic seats. These clay stools, chairs, and benches are distinguished by a close proximity to the earth, which makes them a gateway to communication with the ancestors. Their curved shapes mimic rondavels (round huts) and kraals, traditionally used to enclose livestock.