South African ceramic artist Sbonelo Luthuli will be on residency at Nafasi Art Space in Tanzania from 11 February to 23 March 2020. Born in 1981 in Durban, Sbonelo studied fine art at the Durban University of Technology. He works in the tradition of the great ceramic artist Nesta Nala and takes inspiration from her as well as Clive Sithole and Ian Garrett. Standing on the shoulders of these great South African artists, Sbonelo’s pottery is spiritual and meditative, with his personal journey shaping the narrative of his work.
In his work, he uses ceramic vessels (izinkamba) as a premise to challenge, question, and comment on certain aspects of rules and laws that serve as guidelines when creating ceramic vessels.
Sbonelo has received numerous awards and accolades for his work. In 2015-2016 The Arts and Ubuntu Trust’s Travelling Art Institute presented Sbonelo Luthuli’s exhibition Song of the Soil/Ihubo Lengabadi in Cape Town and in Johannesburg. “My depiction draws its content from religious, political, traditional practices, heritage, customs and aspects of the dynamics of life in general,” Sbonelo says of his work. Alongside this indigenous visual language, Sbonelo introduces contemporary aesthetics into his ceramics.
During his residency, Sbonelo will lead a five-day workshop from 24-28 February where he will share the traditional coiling and firing technique used to make bowls in rural KwaZulu-Natal. This method is one of the oldest forms of pottery in Africa and today is mostly used by elders in isiZulu and isiXhosa communities in South Africa. Sbonelo is committed to keeping this practice alive through his own work as well as sharing this knowledge with other artists.