Contemporary African ceramic art is a vibrant and diverse form of expression that combines both traditional and modern techniques to create unique and innovative works. It represents the rich cultural heritage of Africa and serves as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the continent’s people.
African ceramic art has a long history, with pottery traditions dating back thousands of years. In the pre-colonial era, indigenous societies across the continent developed distinct techniques and styles, often reflecting their local environment and cultural beliefs. However, the colonial period brought about significant changes, as European influences led to the adoption of new methods and foreign materials. The post-colonial period witnessed a resurgence of interest in indigenous pottery techniques, fueled by a desire to reclaim and celebrate Africa’s cultural heritage. This renewed focus on traditional methods, combined with the influence of modern artistic movements, gave rise to contemporary African ceramic art.
Let’s delve into the world of ceramic art in a South African context, highlighting represented artists Jo Roets and Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku. Roets predominantly works in clay, drawing inspiration from the patterns and shapes found in the visually and symbolically rich cultures of indigenous South Africans, whilst Mqeku’s sand-cast ceramic sculptures explore themes of nature, texture, and form.
These artists, along with many others, contribute to the dynamic and evolving landscape of South African ceramic art, and their work features in the publication Clay Formes, a book dedicated to contemporary clay and ceramic artists from South Africa.
Browse our curated selection of original ceramic sculptures and ceramic wall art by contemporary artists available from our gallery.