Sand cast ceramic sculptures by Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku


As the winner of the StateoftheART Gallery Award 2021, Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku will present his solo exhibition “Birth of the Alter Natural” at StateoftheART Gallery in Cape Town from 03 – 17 December 2022.
Mqeku’s sculptural work explores visceral visual responses of the possibilities of an altered or extinct natural world. The artist has been completing his Master’s Dissertation at the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein and currently stands as the only artist in Africa who uses the technique of sand cast ceramics. His research is an attempt to marry the ancient traditional craft technique of ceramics with 4th industrial scientific methods - including laser cutting, 3D Printing and 3D Photogrammetry modelling. Artworks made using this process, often resemble objects dug up from another planet, tectonic life forms that appear fossilized or frozen in some post-biotic condition.



About Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku:
Mqeku was born in Mount Fletcher, a small town on the edges of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. After graduating with a diploma in Ceramic Design from NMU in 2013, he moved to Bloemfontein and began work at the Oliewenhuis Art Museum, later graduating with a B-Tech in Fine Art in 2016 at TUT Pretoria. Currently, Mqeku is completing his Masters at CUT in Bloemfontein and was commissioned as part of the Goethe Project Space (GPS) to host the first ever public workshop on sand-cast ceramics at the University. With this process he has also taken part in international artist residencies including: the ceramic artist residency in Vallauris, France; and the inaugural Black Rock Senegal in Dakar in early 2020. In 2021 he was announced as the winner of the StateoftheART Gallery Award and will present his solo exhibition with StateoftheART Gallery in November 2022.

About the StateoftheART Gallery Award:
The Award aims to champion contemporary art by emerging artists resident in South Africa, increasing exposure for their work, and encouraging further professional development opportunities. In the 2021 edition, entrants were asked to submit work to the theme ‘On The Brink: Visualising Climate Change’ and were challenged to engage with the reality of the climate crisis and its impact within a South African context.


Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku's sculpture 'Cell Division'Sylvester Zanoxolo Mqeku, 'Cell Division', Red Iron oxide, mate frosted pink and translucent green glaze on sandcast terracotta. Photo credit: Rupert De Beer.


Exhibition details:

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