Art room

High Design-Art: The Afromoderns

Curated by Southern Guild, the work of Southern Africa’s current cohort of top design-artists encompasses a breadth of thinking, imagination and art that is a joy to follow. Below, just a few selects from an incredible collection of high design-art by our local cream of the crop.
Bronwyn Lace is an installation and performance artist based in Johannesburg. She participates in national and international projects focusing on the relationships between art and other fields.
Casamento consists of Starry Eve Collett, and partner Henri du Rand. There is a strong focus on the marriage between masculine shapes with feminine finishes and between the old and the new. Centuries old needlecraft techniques are excitingly juxtaposed with modern elements. Shapes are kept simple, with an emphasis on the ergonomic, functionality and comfort of each piece.
The Promise
Porky Hefer focuses on conceptual precepts that manifest in three-dimensional forms, in a variety of executions from public sculptures and installations to product and furniture design. Fascinated by the reactions and energy a piece can generate in a space, he embraces Africa and the skills and processes that are readily available indigenously, rather than trying to emulate foreign processes. Hefer strives to produce work that elicits a smile and sticks in your head.
Dylan Lewis is a South African artist who has emerged as one of the foremost figures in contemporary sculpture. His work features in private collections throughout the UK, Continental Europe, United States and Australia, and he is one of only a handful of living artists to have had more than one solo auction with Christie´s in London.
Dylan Lewis ‘Gesture 1′
Console 1
His biting satire, frequently directed at South African society, politics and religion, is channeled into both his painting and printmaking, and his comix which have been published in the Bitterkomix series, alongside those of his frequent collaborator Anton Kannemeyer, since the early 1990s. In 2004 Botes won the Absa l’Atelier award, and in 2009 he was festival artist at Aardklop in Potchefstroom and has since exhibited in several group exhibitions both locally and abroad.


Michaella Janse van Vuuren’s work is about experimentation and evolution, about art and science, and new materials and processes. Digital design and additive manufacturing have become her tools. By means of 3D printing she has been able to give substance to her imagination, with no limit to realising even the most elaborate image.


Occupying their celebrated realm of fantasy, illusion and nature, Gerhard Swart and Anthony Harris’ pieces are a symbiosis between traditional, classical ceramic forms and the dream world. “We tend to explore the traditional and contemporary together in one. We are interested in emphasising and exaggerating the relationship between theses different genres,” say the artists. They are known for their remarkable work in clay, distinctive ceramic wallpaper, organic matter, skeletons, tattooed forms and architectural detailing.


Dahl’s love of working with clay and creating forms all began when she met her ceramic lecturer, Hendrik Stroebel, at the Durban Technikon of Natal in 1995. She moved to Nottingham Road in 1999 where she crossed paths with design guru Neville Trickett who introduced her to the botanical photography of Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932). This triggered the start of her ever-evolving journey with clay and has led to these large flora-inspired works.
Best known for his work with repurposed post consumer plastic waste, Heath is concerned with exposing the often unseen and unrecognised beauty in everyday objects and materials. By exploring different production techniques and craft skills, he has proven himself able to unearth new and beautiful forms, functions, and objects that are both exciting and yet feel like they could have always existed.
Hearts of Darkness & I am U They R Us