Ceramist & Co-Founder
Zizipho Poswa is a Cape Town-based ceramic artist whose large-scale, hand-coiled sculptures are bold declarations of African womanhood. She is inspired by the daily Xhosa rituals she witnessed as a young girl growing up in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa and the life-sustaining roles that Xhosa women play in traditional and contemporary life.
Poswa’s work for Southern Guild explores her personal experience and heritage in monumental sculptural pieces. Her first major series paid tribute to the practice of “umthwalo” (load), in which rural women carry heavy bundles of wood, buckets of water or parcels on their heads, often walking long distances on foot. Her second series, Magodi, looked to the sculptural forms of traditional African hairstyles, such as the Bantu knot and dreadlock, and the central role that hair salons play as a meeting place for women. Each work is named after a family member or close friend, giving vivid, physical form to the artist’s own support network.
Poswa’s debut solo, iLobola, comprised 12 iconic sculptures made from hand-coiled clay combined with cast bronze for the first time. iLobola pays homage to the spiritual offering at the heart of the ancient African custom of lobola, or bride-wealth – the cow – as well as the role the practice plays in building relations between the two families. Like some of Poswa’s earlier works, this series straddles figuration and abstraction, employing an intuitive vocabulary of shape, colour and texture.
Poswa’s work has been acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Loewe Foundation, as well as important private and corporate collections around the world. In 2021, she was a featured artist with Andile Dyalvane in the inaugural Indian Ocean Craft Triennial in Perth, Australia and was included in Self-Addressed, curated by Kehinde Wiley at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery in Los Angeles. She has taken part in group exhibitions in New York, Paris, Hamburg and Liverpool and has presented her work through Southern Guild at Design Miami, The Salon Art + Design in New York and PAD London.
Finalist / Innibos Craft Awards / 2019
Mbokodo Award / Traditional and Ingenious Category SA / 2017