‘Tattooed Sleeve by LW and CM’ by Laurie Wiid van Heerden and Ceramic Matters
Graphica introduces some collectible design pieces not yet seen in South Africa, despite having been exhibited by Southern Guild at international fairs such as Design Miami in both Basel and Miami, and Design Days Dubai. ‘Graphica is a visual feast of dynamic silhouettes and exquisite surface detailing,’ explains Southern Guild founder Trevyn McGowan. A Wiid Design bench hand-drawn by Ceramic Matters to resemble a tattoo, the Kassena Isibheqe cabinet and writing desk by Dokter and Misses, referencing a modern-day script to unite African languages, and Madoda Fani ceramic vessels decorated with armour-like patterning are some of the pieces to look out for in this exhibition. ‘There’s a strong African aesthetic to these works,’ adds partner Julian McGowan, ‘and visitors can expect this to be complemented by a dramatic reworking of the gallery space.’
Artists include: Adriaan Izak Hugo + Zander Blom, Babacar Niang, Brett Murray, Bronze Age, Daniella Mooney, David Krynauw, Dokter and Misses, Driaan Claassen, Gavin Elder, Gregor Jenkin, Justine Mahoney, Koop, Laurie Wiid van Heerden with Ceramic Matters, Madoda Fani, Porky Hefer, Rodan Kane Hart, Pieter Henning and Xandre Kriel, amongst others.
Graphica is open to the public from 8 April to 1 July.
Left / "Isibheqe Writing Desk" by Dokter and Misses, “Fear” by Brett Murray and “Bedjenak Chaise” by Babacar Niang
Right / "LALA Surma V and VI" by Dokter and Misses, “Our Turn to Eat” by Brett Murray, David Krynauw’s “Haywire Black Ash” and Xandre Kriel’s “Vos Altar”
The fifth installment of the museum’s popular contemporary design exhibition series will be running from from Feb. 12 through Aug. 21, 2016 where you will be able to see Dokter and Misses, the Horseman, a limited edition piece in their ongoing Kassena series.
Even with its otherworldly silhouette and vibrating patterned façade, the Horseman is still principally functional. Garnering it’s name from the way in which the spire shape appears to be riding the floor piece, the Horseman is seen as a bench – albeit a sculptural idea of one – complete with a flap down desk and other compartments to house the things that are precious to you.
The patterned Isibheqe cabinets are the latest addition to the Kassena series – the first of which was produced in 2012. The shape of the Kassena cabinets is inspired by the hand-painted adobe structures built by the Kassena people, who live in the Tiébélé region on the border of Ghana and Burkina Faso. The geometric patterns wrapped around the cabinets actually represent two literary texts in the Sotho and Tsonga languages, written in the Pan-Southern African writing system called Isibheqe Sohlamvu, or Ditema tsa Dinoko.
This isibheqe script is developed through the symbolic design traditions of the Southern African region, such as Sotho litema murals or Zulu amabheqe beadwork. Primarily for use with Nguni, Sotho-Tswana, Tsonga and Venda languages, the isibheqe script combines letters representing the key phonetic features of those languages into geometric syllabograms. Each triangle or circle shape in the vertical lines of text on the cabinets represents one syllable of the text.
As a decolonial alternative literacy, the writing system is an Africanist technology designed to advance Southern African language literacies. The isibheqe cabinets engage the literary force of this indigenous writing system, and together with the Kassena-inspired shape, create a poignant piece of Pan-African visual art.
Visit isibheqe.org for a visual description and further information about the Isibheqe Sohlamvu script.