A critical survey of Ardmore ceramics: 1985-1996.
Mentis, Glenda Ann.
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The aim of this study is to trace the development of the ceramics produced at the Ardmore Studio, in the Champagne Valley, KwaZulu-Natal from its inception in 1985 to 1996. In tracing the expansion of the studio various issues became apparent which can be seen as relevant to the study of contemporary black art in South Africa. The Introduction puts Ardmore ceramics in the context of current trends in black art by presenting an historical overview of art centres in KwaZulu-Natal. The perceptions of the artist, the audience, and the role of the cultural broker are considered. Thus the circumstances which led to emergence of contemporary black art in its present form and the development of contemporary ceramics in South Africa are also examined. In Chapter One an historical outline of the origins of the studio is introduced. Fee HalstedBerning's involvement in the studio and her relationship with the artists, as well as her perceptions of art as related to her personal preferences, her training and current South African trends in ceramics are discussed. The forging of an Ardmore identity, the growth and expansion of the studio, the interrelation that exists between the artists and the audience are also considered. Chapters Two and Three deal with two specific artists, Bonnie Ntshalintshali and Josephine Ghesa. Issues related to the sources and origins of their imagery are examined in terms of their respective social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.