Ardmore artist remembered

2008-09-21 00:00

Rain, sleet and biting cold could not put a dampener on events at Ardmore Ceramic Art in Caversham on Saturday morning when the Bonnie Ntshalinstshali Museum was opened by the South African High Commissioner to London — and self-confessed Ardmore enthusiast — Dr Lindiwe Mabuza.

Ntshalintshali, who died in 1999 from an Aids-related illness at the age of 32, was joint winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award with Fee Halsted-Berning, the founder of Ardmore, in 1990.

The museum contains examples of her work, as well as a showroom of Ardmore’s trademark ceramics, which are now in demand worldwide. At the opening were pieces made by other Ardmore artists as homage to Ntshalintshali. Her father, sisters and son attended the opening.

The museum also has a section devoted to the work of the CreACTive Centres, a joint venture between Ardmore and the Caversham Centre for Artists and Writers, which has set up centres around KZN which aim, in the words of Caversham’s Jabu Mtheku, “to encourage self-belief through self-expression”. At Saturday’s function, Mabuza accepted an invitation to become the patron of the centres.

Although she has attended openings of Ardmore exhibitions all over the world, Mabuza said that to be “at home” at the Bonnie Ntshalintshali Museum was “something extraordinary”. Paying tribute to Halsted-Berning for recognising and nurturing the artists at Ardmore, Mabuza spoke of the vibrancy, colour, solidity and artistic integrity of the Ardmore work, and said:

“Every piece wants to make you smile.”

After Ntshalintshali’s son, Senzo, cut the ribbon to open the museum, an auction of Ardmore pieces and prints by Ntshalintshali, Halsted-Berning, the late Wonderboy Nxumalo of Ardmore and the late Gabisile Nkosi of Caversham was held to raise funds for the CreACTive Centres.

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