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HAND MADE (article first published : 2005-09-23)

The KZNSA is to present an exhibition of ceramic sculptures titled Hand Made in the Main Gallery by Carla da Cruz, Dagmar de Kok (NL), Jane du Rand, Raksha Gobardan and Mamatakana Makara with funding from the Royal Netherlands Embassy.

The exhibition is a curated showcase of recent works in ceramics by five artists that challenge the traditional use of the medium, and who are experimental in their approach.

Carla da Cruz held her first solo show at the KZNSA Gallery in 2004, and the work for the current exhibition offers a marked shift from the industrial, machine-inspired installation pieces previously presented. Taking her cue from softer, organic forms, da Cruz’s occupation is with a series of wall-mounted works that are all circular and dome shaped. The works, some of which are reminiscent of underwater or molecular organisms, are also an investigation into the unseen - microscopic details that are enlarged to become something else, something less descriptive and more symbolic. Her interest in fractals and wave patterns are also an attempt to make sense of the invisible natural forces and high technology that surrounds us.

Dutch artist Dagmar de Kok spent two months in residency in Durban to produce work for the exhibition. This allowed an opportunity for her to respond to a local context and interact with the other artists on the show. From a previous visit she became fascinated with the public transport systems in the city, and her works are playful renditions of the infamous minibus taxi. Her main mode of transport for the duration of her residency, the local taxi industry, the carriers and their passengers became a source of inspiration, and the works a portrait of this bustling city and its diverse inhabitants.

Well-known mosaic artist Jane du Rand has completed numerous large-scale commissions in public and private spaces countrywide including work for the Constitutional Court. For this exhibition she is producing a body of work that is influenced and informed by motherhood. Working with oversized vessels, symbolic of the female form as a carrier, she embellishes each individual work with precious and minute detail. Small anatomic details and shapes are reproduced and repeated, so that the patterns that emerge become narrative.

Ceramicist and mosaic artist Rakhsa Gobardan presents a series of large, found wooden disks, which she reworks with small inserts and details. Working with the rough surfaces of these circular shapes, she juxtaposes them with small and refined details. Developing a language that is partially based on Hindi iconography, Gobardan succeeds in creating comments on spirituality and a connection with a local, contemporary South African reality.

Mamatakana Makara is an emerging artist who works with traditional symbols and patterns that she disrupts and reconfigure. Hailing from the mountain kingdom of Lesotho, she is inspired by the patterns of the traditional Sotho blanket. Investigating the notion of authentic traditional practice and cultural manifestations, she isolates these patterns, which not only reinforce and emphasise their significance, but also ‘expose’ them as stemming from English sources, such as the crown and heart symbols.

Handmade opens on September 27 at 18h00 and runs until October 16.




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