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Article

Lisa M. Binder

(b Anyako, Ghana, June 13, 1944).

Ghanaian sculptor, active in Nigeria. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sculpture (1968) and a postgraduate diploma in art education from the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana (1969). After graduation he taught at the Specialist Training College (now University of Winneba), Ghana, in a position vacated by the eminent sculptor Vincent Kofi. From 1975 he was Professor of Sculpture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Anatsui’s practice often makes use of found objects including bottle caps, milk-tins and cassava graters. However, he is not concerned with recycling or salvaging; instead he seeks meaning in the ways materials can be transformed to make statements about history, culture and memory.

His early work consists of ceramic sculptures manipulated to reconfigure pieces of memory. In 1978 he began his Broken Pots series, which was exhibited the following year at the British Council in Enugu, Nigeria. Several of the ceramic works were made of sherds that were fused together by a grog-like cement of broken pieces. Making art historical references to ...

Article

Tunisian, 20th century, male.

Born 14 January 1924, in Tunis; died 11 May 2006.

Painter, potter. Figures, interiors.

Ali Bellagha initially studied law before attending the schools of fine art in Tunis and Paris. In about 1970, he opened a shop called Les Métiers, which he also runs....

Article

Tunisian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 9 October 1951, in Maamoura.

Painter, ceramicist.

In 1977 Khaled Ben Slimane graduated from the Institut Technologique d'Art in Tunis, specialising in ceramics. In 1978-79 he worked at the Massana School in Barcelona and in 1982-83 in Japan.

He employs acrylics in his paintings and is strongly influenced by Arab calligraphy, which appears both in a concealed and an explicit form. The rows of symbols, or writings in various colours, are arranged between parallel horizontal lines, and decorative elements are only allowed as a framing device for his compositions....

Article

A. E. Duffey

(b Winburg, July 11, 1923).

South African potter. He was educated at Heidelberg and Potchefstroom (both nr Johannesburg) and began a fine arts degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, which he left after two years to work for a four-year painting diploma at the Johannesburg School of Art. In 1949 he won a three-year scholarship to study ceramics in Britain. He spent one year at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London, where he worked under Dora Billington (1890–1968) and acquired his interest in pottery. He spent another two years working in such studios as those of Raymond Finch (b 1914) in Winchcombe, Glos, and Michael Cardew in Cornwall. He returned to South Africa in 1952 and taught ceramics at the Technical College in Durban (1952–4) and at the Pretoria Art School (1954–6). At the same time he established his own earthenware studio, specializing in simple white and green wares. He later established a studio near White River and, after working again briefly for ...

Article

Senegalese, 20th century, female.

Born c. 1945, in Bigogna.

Sculptor.

Awa Seni Camara produces almost exclusively terracotta figurines with distorted facial expressions, which are evocative of West African myth and legend.

Lausanne (Contemporary African Art Coll.): Untitled (1988)

Article

Chemla  

Tunisian, 20th century, male.

Born in Tunis.

Ceramicist.

Chemla works in his home town.

Article

Egyptian, 20th century, male.

Born 1940.

Painter, sculptor, ceramicist.

Abdel El Dawakhli studied at Cairo's higher academy of art, then qualified as an art teacher from the San Fernando academy in Madrid and as a master potter and ceramicist from Madrid's central school. He was appointed professor at the higher academy of art in Cairo and, from ...

Article

Joanna Grabski

(b St Louis, February 6, 1953).

Senegalese glass painter, potter and teacher. She earned an MA in literature at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar (1980), then graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure d'Education Artistique (1983). Her early work in both literature and fine arts dealt with the social role of women in colonial Senegal. In the 1980s and 1990s, she worked primarily with glass painting or sous verre, a medium with a long history in Senegal. Her work advances well-known conventional glass paintings that depict colorful quotidian and religious scenes. She works with a palette of intense hues, applying them across the glass support so as to maximize the expressive potential of the medium. Although she created figural works in the 1980s, her work in the 1990s became increasingly abstract. Her glass paintings, such as Nature (1998; priv. col.), are characterized by their luminescence and large scale. In addition to exhibiting her work in Africa and Europe, she has been involved in a number of educational and humanitarian projects. Her achievements have been recognized by two prestigious awards from the government of Senegal, including the Chevalièr de l’Ordre du Mérite (...

Article

Ghaybi  

[Ghaybī Tawrīzī; Ghaybī al-Shāmī; Ghaibi]

Arab potter. The name is also applied to a pottery workshop active in Syria and Egypt in the mid-15th century. All the products are underglaze-painted in blue and black. A rectangular panel composed of six tiles decorated with a lobed niche in the mosque of Ghars al-Din al-Tawrizi, Damascus (1423), is signed ‛amal ghaybī tawrīzī (‘the work of Ghaybi of Tabriz’), suggesting that he was associated with Tabriz, a noted ceramic centre in north-west Iran. As the interior of the mosque and tomb is decorated with 1362 unsigned but related tiles, Ghaybi must have been the head of a workshop in Damascus. A fragment of a bowl with a typical Egyptian fabric (New York, Met., 1973.79.9) bears the name ghaybī al-shāmī (‘Ghaybi the Syrian’), suggesting that the potter later moved from Syria to Egypt. A square tile from a restoration of the mosque of Sayyida Nafisa in Cairo (Cairo, Mus. Islam. A.) is signed by ...

Article

Algerian, 20th century, male.

Born 13 December 1945, in Khenchela.

Painter, potter. Local scenes, local figures, landscapes.

Lazhar Hakkar studied at the school of fine arts in Algiers from 1963 to 1968. He took part in numerous group exhibitions and presented his work in solo exhibitions from ...

Article

South African, 20th century, male.

Born 29 June 1920, in London; died 15 March 2010, in Johannesburg.

Painter, printmaker, ceramic artist. Figures, socio-political themes, satire.

Robert Hodgins left school in 1934, immigrated to South Africa in 1938, and enlisted in the Union Defence Forces (...

Article

Thurstan Shaw

Town in Nigeria (pop. c. 15,000 in the 1990s), situated 40 km south-east of Onitsha, which is on the River Niger. The name means ‘Great Igbo’ in the Igbo language. It is also the name given to the ancient culture that produced the elaborate metalwork and ceramics, dated to the 10th century ad, that were found at three sites on the outskirts of the town.

The first site came to light some time before the outbreak of World War II in 1939 while a man, Isaiah Anozie, was digging a cistern. Not far below ground-level he unearthed a highly decorated bronze bowl, and further digging led to the discovery of other bronzes, some of which were given to his neighbours who thought they would make good ‘medicine’. The remaining objects were bought by John Field, the area’s Assistant District Officer, who published an account of the discovery and presented the collection to the Nigerian Federal Department of Antiquities. At the invitation of the Department, the archaeologist ...

Article

South African, 21st century, collective of mostly women.

Needlework, painting, printmaking, ceramics. Local histories and scenes.

Established in 2000 by Carol Hofmeyr, an artist and medical doctor, the Keiskamma Art Project is intended to provide income-generating opportunities to isiXhosa-speakers in Hamburg and the surrounding villages of Bodium and Ntilini in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, while also enabling participants to use representation to engage with issues of relevance to their communities. Although members sometimes work individually on small-scale embroideries, items in felt, beaded objects, small prints, or ceramics, the project is best known for large-scale works in needlework, which its members work on collectively and which are parodies of well-known art objects from the West....

Article

Senegalese, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1947.

Painter, watercolourist, pastellist, potter. Designs for tapestries, murals.

Souleymane Keïta lived in New York from 1980 to 1985, where he taught pottery and painting. He lives and works in Senegal, on the Island of Gorée (Dakar). There is a strong lyrical (in the sense that the artist mingles various different styles) and poetic aspect to his art, which draws its subjects and motifs from life and the immediate environment: nature, music, and spiritualism. He is regarded as one of the leading exponents of abstract art in Senegal....

Article

Algerian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1947, in Ain-Beida.

Painter (mixed media), engraver, potter.

Koraichi studied at the school of fine art in Algiers, before continuing his education in Paris. He began as an engraver and practised calligraphy inspired by ethnic and then imaginary sources, which he transposed onto various materials such as wood, parchment, silk, and ceramic....

Article

Will Rea

(b Kwali, Abuja, ? 1930; d Nigeria, August 12, 1984).

Nigerian potter. She was apprenticed to an aunt who taught her the traditional pottery techniques of the Gwali people, in which pots were made by the coil and pinch techniques and then given an open firing. The three basic shapes were the randa, a large water storage pot, the kasko, a household storage pot, and the tulu, an elaborately decorated storage pot often used in religious festivals. These shapes remained in her repertory throughout her life.

International recognition for Kwali’s skill as a potter began with her collaboration with Michael Cardew. In 1951 Cardew had established the Suleja (now Abuja) pottery training centre and was shown works by Kwali in the collection of the Emir of Suleja. In 1954 Kwali, who had been working as a trader in Minna, joined Cardew at Abuja. Kwali’s most distinctive pots are the fat-bellied tulu with flaring mouth and flat rims. Designs, often of such stylized zoomorphic figures as the chameleon and monkey, set in geometric bands, are scratched in sgraffito through a black slip. Despite his initial reservations, Cardew encouraged Kwali in the use of modern throwing, glazing and firing techniques. The result was a successful blending of an archaic tradition with modern studio technology. In Kwali’s work an innate sense of form and design, derived from producing functional pots, is turned to the production of purely art objects. Her work has won international awards and is represented in the Harmony Foundation, New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (stoneware pot with inlaid decoration, ...

Article

Mozambican, 20th century, male.

Born 6 June 1936, in Matalana.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, potter, sculptor, poet. Murals.

Valente Ngwenya Malangatana is a major figure in 20th century Mozambican culture. He was initiated into traditional healing practices when he was a young man, beginning to draw in ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, female.

Birth date unknown.

Potter.

Rebecca Mathibe lives in Mufulwi Village in what was Venda (now Limpopo). Pottery in pre-industrial sub-Saharan Africa was a specialist activity with the women of some families making vessels for water, traditional beer, and cooking, for own use or to be sold or traded with surrounding communities. True to tradition, as a young girl Mathibe was taught to make pots by her grandmother. However, from the 1980s, as an interest in ‘Venda’ art and craft grew amongst collectors and dealers from urban centres, some artists who had previously made objects for local consumption began to produce work for a commercial market. Mathibe began to create pieces with highly decorative elements alongside her plainer utility ware. Themes that recur in Mathibe’s work are bird, snake, plant, and flower motifs shaped in red clay and embellished with a grey mica application that provides a shiny surface in selected areas....

Article

A. E. Duffey

(b Windsor, Berks, March 14, 1941; d Muldersdrif, May 31, 1990).

South African potter of English birth. In 1959 he spent a year at the Brighton College of Art and then went to the St Martin’s School of Art in London. After qualifying in 1963 for a teaching diploma at London University, where one of his lecturers encouraged him to further his training, in 1964 he went to study pottery at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, London. In 1965 he moved to South Africa. Initially he tried portrait painting as a living but abandoned it in favour of starting his own pottery studio. With Helen Martin (b 1942) he started a studio in Johannesburg, which lasted only two years. In 1967 he moved to Larsens Farm near Muldersdrif, where he opened a temporary studio. A one-man exhibition at the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, in 1969 marked a turning-point in his career, and he built a permanent studio at Muldersdrif. Until ...

Article

Egyptian, 20th century, male.

Born 1926, in Dahme.

Painter.

Ramzi Moustapha studied decorative arts at Cairo University. He then went on to study ceramics at the Istituto Statale d'Arte per la Ceramica in Faenza, Italy, and at the Royal Academy in London. He furthered his artistic training at Moscow University and at the University of Iowa in the USA. His painting features checkerboard constructions exploring the interplay of shadow and light in their tiles....