Design Miami is the design showcase by curator Aric Chen that kicks of a week-long creative explosion experience in Miami which also includes Art Basel Miami. Being held 3-8 December at the Convention Center Drive between 18th and 19th Street on Miami Beach, Design Miami will see a selection of Southern Guild Designers showcase a collection of never-been-seen-before designs. Southern Guild’s presentation, African-pop” will showcase participating designers: Andile Dyalvane, Dokter and Misses, Justine Mahoney, MAK with NØDE, Madoda Fani, NØDE, Porky Hefer, Rich Mnisi and Zizipho Poswa.
Zizipho Poswa, whose large-scale ceramic sculptures were recently acquired by the Los Angeles County Museum of ART (LACMA), unveils a new series inspired by traditional African hairstyles, called Magodi (the local term for such hairstyles). Two monumental pieces, Magodi – Abongile and Magodi – Zoleka, are given traditional Xhosa names in homage to actual women who have been influential in the artist’s life. They retain the imposing sensuality of the artist’s previous work, rendered with increased technical complexity to convey the intricacy of woven, braided and threaded hair.
Celebrated fashion designer Rich Mnisi’s Nwa-Mulamula’s Embrace armchairs are an exciting addition to his debut collection of conceptual furniture, Nwa-Mulamula’s Chaise and Nwa-Mulamula’s Tears (a leather and bronze stool). With their rounded forms and strong physical presence, these works stand in homage to the memory of Rich’s late great-great-grand mother, whose teachings have lived on in his family generation after generation. Like his 2018 fashion collection of the same name, the chaise takes its title from this central matriarch – “Nwa-Mulamula” means “guardian”. Rich has said: “She is a sacred, powerful and spiritual component of my being – although she rests as a guardian in an ancestral realm, her spirit, lessons and sacrifices have defied temporal limitations,” he has said. “I see her as symbol to pay homage to the role of African mothers whose stories are either seldom documented or given the light they deserve.”
Madoda Fani’s trio of side-tables in black clay continues his foray into ceramic furniture. The series – titled Itafile I, II and III after the Xhosa word for “tables” – utilises a robust mushroom shape while retaining the intricacy of the artist’s incised patterns. Hand-coiled and precisely carved, their rhythmical shapes call to mind overlapping fish scales or insect exoskeletons. Madoda burnishes and smoke-fires his ceramics according to the Zulu tradition (used most often in Zulu beer pots) and draws on a vocabulary of symbolic African imagery such as cattle. His recent work for Southern Guild ventures into new territory, seeing him expand his use of scale and materials, including bronze and wood.
“Rather than commenting on what it means to be a designer in South Africa today, these works remain open-ended and serve as observations and poetic glyphs that ask us to reflect on our relationships with each other and the world around us,” noted Julian McGowan, co-founder of Southern Guild.
If you happen to be in Miami around 3-8 December, be sure to visit the Southern Guild presentation to experience the magnificent works for yourself. For more information visit www.theguildgroup.co.za or follow Southern Guild on Facebook and Instagram.