Ceramics competition shows off national talent


Gallery on Leviseur hosted a ceramics competition entitled "a New Season" as their first exhibition for the year 2014. After receiving entries from various parts of the country, seven creative professionals in different fields were called upon to judge the works and to choose our winner. Third place was taken by local ceramist, Vanda Nunes with her African bust entitled "Head Rush". Donvé Branch from Port Elizabeth took second place with her "bottle form" and first prize was won by Sylvester Mqeku with his work entitled "The Secret Lives of Earth, Air, Fire and Water".
Sylvester was born in Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal. He went to school in Umtata where he also did a foundation course in art and design that he got a distinction for. After school he studied Architectural Technology at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. After two years he changed courses to pursue the fine arts, where he specialized in ceramic design.
Sylvester uses an old technique to create these amazing works. The technique consists of mixing clay and sand and then making a cavity which is then carved out and imprinted with the shapes and patterns he uses for his pieces. After the design is complete he excavates it from the soil to create a sculptural vessel form. This sculptural vessel, along with its textural values is then passed off as nature’s fabrications. Later, colouring oxides and glazes are added for extra effect.
Sylvester came to Bloemfontein for an internship at Oliewenhuis Museum. He now has a bursary to study community arts counseling and art psychotherapy in Johannesburg. After he has completed his studies he plans on coming back to Bloemfontein to contribute to teaching arts, especially in underprivileged communities. The ultimate dream for this budding artist is to develop his materials, process, tools and hereby his overall presentation to a world class standard.