Identifying the entire world of Andile Dyalvane

Andile Dyalvane honours Xhosa tradition in clay

Andile Dyalvane presents ‘iThongo’, a collection of ceramic pieces showcased by way of an exhibition at Friedman Benda, till 22 May perhaps 2021, and a documentary film following the designer back to his hometown

Friedman Benda provides Andile Dyalvane’s ‘iThongo’, a undertaking featuring clay sculptural seats and vessels established as an homage to his ancestors and Xhosa lifestyle.

Hailing from Japanese Cape, Dyalvane is one of the most notable South African creatives doing work currently. His medium of option, clay, is applied expressively all through his oeuvre, producing a deep link to his native land and the Xhosa tradition of his family and ancestors.

Andile Dyalvane’s ‘iThongo’: a selection driven by dreams of ancestors

Andile Dyalvane, left, sitting with two associates of his neighborhood during a trip to his home in Ngobozana, Eastern Cape

‘My intention with creating an extended overall body of get the job done underneath the title “iThongo” is to highlight a collecting of goals, seated in the soul, held by the spirits of our ancestors,’ claims the designer. ‘The language of dreams is symbolic and hence realised as uyalezo, messages from our ancestral spirits.’

‘iThongo’ means ‘ancestral dreamscape’ in Xhosa, and the title refers to the medium by means of which messages are typically transmitted from ancestors. The collection includes a series of sculptural clay stools, chairs and benches, arranged in a circle as they would be all through a standard Xhosa ceremonial collecting, with a fireplace fireside and organic choices at the centre. 

Top rated, ‘Umtshaleyo’ (this means broom) from the ‘iThongo’ collection. ‘Brooms have a tendency to be assigned a female power, remaining a instrument for the two cleansing and cleansing the dwelling,‘ claims the designer. ‘My introduction to their vast quantity of uses came about largely because applications are intriguing to me.’ Bottom, ‘Izilo’ (totem animals). ‘The importance of animal and human cohabitation has extended been depicted inside conventional oral folklore, myth and visual chronicling tales,’ suggests Dvalvane. ‘An assigned group of livestock to aid the homestead throughout clan-unique ceremonies.’

By means of his perform, Dyalvane is fully commited to preserve ancestral Xhosa knowledge, cultural traditions and language. ‘Whenever I get started doing work in my studio, I get in touch with to my ancestors,’ clarifies Dyalvane. ‘It’s a way of calling the spirit to be amongst us all in the house in purchase for me to get clarity as to what it is that they want me to talk.’

Every piece is outlined by a large base and expressive sculptural back rests, whose shapes have been inspired by pictograms or glyphs symbolizing words that are critical in Xhosa everyday living – from entshonalanga, indicating sunset, to izilo, the word representing totem animals. Dyalvane also picked text and ideas that relate to the natural entire world and contact on universal human themes. 

‘From the village to the gallery, the get the job done is carrying the energy and essence of my dwelling, of my ancestors’

The layouts acquire cues from Dyalvane’s reminiscences of conventional African artefacts, and the reduced design and style of the seating references the earth as ‘an historical portal for ancestral communion’. The recurring round shapes also have an important which means in Xhosa culture, the designer explains: round geometry is thought to aid a no cost trade of electrical power in Xhosa religious methods. 

Regular clay vessels featuring the pictograms or glyphs applied by Dyalvane through his oeuvre

In November, the assortment travelled to Dyalvane’s rural homestead in Ngobozana, Eastern Cape, so that his family members and group could see it in advance of an exhibition at Cape Town’s Southern Guild, and before it was proven in New York. The journey is documented as a result of a quick film, and the undertaking characteristics collaborations amongst Dyalvane and neighborhood artists. Poet and traditional healer Sisonke Papu wrote about Dyalvane’s use of symbols for the exhibition catalogue, although sound healer and musician Nkosenathi Ernie Koela manufactured a musical composition mixing traditional devices and appears established by the items on their own. Textile artist Onesimo Bam created a collection of hand-painted indigo clothes for the ceremonial presentation of his work to his village, and to gift to his elders.

‘From the village to the gallery, the work is carrying the power and essence of my property, of my ancestors,’ states Dyalvane. ‘The manure, and the smoke, and the dung that you see and smell and feeling, is the essence that would make the do the job.’

View: Andile Dyalvane’s ‘iThongo’ travels to Ngobozana, Japanese Cape