Zizipho Poswa is a Cape Town-based ceramic artist whose large-scale, handcoiled 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.
Born in the town of Mthatha, Poswa studied surface design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She draws on this knowledge to amalgamate the visual stimuli she encounters in her daily life into a simplified pattern language. In 2006, she and fellow ceramicist Andile Dyalvane opened their studio, Imiso (meaning “tomorrow”) Ceramics.
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.
Her ceramics have attracted strong interest from international collectors and can be found in important private and corporate collections in South Africa and around the world. Poswa has work in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was included in the Female Design Council’s all-women exhibition Deeper Than Text at the 1stdibs Gallery in New York City during NYCxDESIGN in 2019. Southern Guild has presented her work at Design Miami/, The Salon Art + Design in New York and PAD London.
Mthatha, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Lives & Works
Cape Town, South Africa
Acknowledgements & Funders
Contributor & wood carver Friday Jibu. Zizipho Poswa is represented by Southern Guild, Cape Town.
The installation at John Curtin Gallery is a collaboration with Andile Dyalvane and Cape Town based sound artist Nkosenathi Koela and WA weaver Fiona Gavino, supported by the JCG installation team. Fiona's participation and contribution is supported by the WA Government Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.
John Curtin Gallery
JCG is one of WA's foremost public art galleries and curates the Curtin University Art Collection, located at Curtin's Bentley campus.
Curtin University, Building 200A, Kent St, Bentley WA 6102