ARTIST: Alex Sibanda, Sculptor

October 17th, 2012
Alex Sibanda
Start date: 2009-12-01

Biography of Alex Sibanda

Alex Sibanda was born in Gweru in Zimbabwe in 1963. His father was a foreman on a farm while his mother took care of her eight children. At school he was encouraged to develop his drawing skills. In 1978 he joined the Mzilikazi Arts and Crafts Centre where he was involved in drawing, sculpture and mural painting. He felt most fulfilled when working with clay and focused on figurines performing traditional rural activities such as grinding maize and dancing

Seeking safer pastures than strife-torn Zimbabwe, Alex moved to South Africa in 2004. He found employment at Into Arts in Johannesburg, modelling luxury ware such as vases, figurines and bowls. “But it didn’t have the imagination and vitality of Ardmore,” he says. His fellow countryman Lovemore Sithole invited Alex to visit Ardmore and he joined the team of sculptors in January 2010

At this time, Fée Halsted, founder of Ardmore, and Christopher Greig of Charles Greig Jewellers, were preparing for the Travellers of Africa exhibition. Alex was mentored and guided to create sculpture rather than functional ceramics, deriving his inspiration from images he knew well: the Zimbabwean carved wooden hippo curio found on the roadside and his fellow travellers with their many South Africa-Zimbabwe border crossings, returning with provisions for their families. Alex was inspired as the theme of travellers was very close to his heart

Fée assigned Alex to sculpt the Rider series for the Travellers exhibition at Charles Greig in 2010, and his Hippo Riders were purchased by the Museum of Cultures in Basel, Switzerland, after the Cellars-Hohenort exhibition. He says, “I am happy to be at Ardmore doing what I know best – sculpting. I enjoyed creating the Hippo Riders. They have really put me on the map

Alex is married with four children, two of whom have settled in Johannesburg



  • Amaridian Gallery, New York
  • Anagama Gallery, Versailles, France
  •  “Ivory& Ebony”, Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town


  • “Ivory& Ebony”, Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town
  • “Earth & Fire”, Tremaine Gallery, Hotchkiss School, Connecticut, USA
  • Le Negresco Hotel, Nice, France
  • NAADA (National Antiques & Decorative Arts) Faire, Johannesburg
  • Plumbago, Durban
  • Anagama, Versailles, France


- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -


November 26th, 2012

ARDMORE AUSTRALIA is delighted to introduce

the internationally acclaimed, show-stopping, limited edition


~  which means “new beginnings” in Zulu  ~

Only forty (forty four including the four prototypes) of these magnificent, individually printed collector’s pieces are being produced for worldwide distributioN  – each bearing the hallmark Limited Edition ‘Ardmore Design Collection 1 of 40 /or 1 of 4 prototypes’ insignia on the back

Trend Forecaster Li Edelkoort championed the sofa and commissioned it for the Spazio Orlandi in Milan

This sofa has been nominated as “WANTED” magazine’s most desired Design Object of the Year

The fabulous Ardmore creation, which captures the style and spirit of Ardmore Ceramic Art, has taken wings from South Africa and gone to all corners of the globe including Hong Kong, Switzerland, the United States, Milan, the United Kingdom, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Belgrade, Serbia and now Australia

Dimensions:  Height: 93cm /  Width:  220cm / Depth:  95cm

Material – Slip  Cover – Ardmore  Origins,  100%  cotton with IMACOAT for superior washfastness

Upholstery – Fabric ECRU 4 Natural bull denim

Turned Legs – Walnut  Stained  Meranti

The Qalakabusha Couch will be show-cased at the upcoming Ardmore Exhibition at The Peter Pinson Gallery in Woollahra, NSW, from 11 – 21 December 2010.  The official invitation to follow shortly

To order one of these magnificent works of art, please contact Kelly Foster at: or (02) 9337 4451


October 25th, 2012


This is a wonderful feature about ARDMORE’S latest Book, “WE ARE BECAUSE OF OTHERS”” in the South African ‘Business Day Live” Newspaper, today

written by Chris Thurman

“WE ARE BECAUSE OF OTHERS” will be officially launched in Australia in December – details to follow shortly


Life / Arts & Entertainment

Ardmore: where art and ubuntu meet

by Chris Thurman, October 25 2012


In my experience, there are four kinds of people who use the word “ubuntu”. There are the windbag politicians and pseudo-ideologues, who trot it out as part of the empty rhetoric that constitutes their public pronouncements — typically in an effort to avoid taking personal responsibility for something. There are the entrepreneurs and corporations who turn the word into a money-making opportunity, offering workshops on things such as “ubuntu” management techniques. There are naive citizens and consumers who make vague references to it because it ostensibly affirms something about being “South African”  – as if there were no other place in the world where reciprocity is viewed as integral to human relationships

But there are also people who use the word with integrity and sincerity, because it encapsulates something about their lived experience. When Fée Halsted invokes the term and the concept to describe the Ardmore ceramic art community, it’s difficult to be cynical in response

Halsted met, tutored then began collaborating with Bonnie Ntshalintshali in the 1980s; the two of them developed a working relationship and a friendship that made manifest the mutual obligation and identity formation espoused as ubuntu principles. Their joint acceptance of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 1990 provided an important form of institutional (and financial) acknowledgement

They did not, of course, start off on an even socioeconomic footing; Ntshalintshali was the daughter of Halsted’s domestic worker. Yet, as Halsted insists, they learned from one another and were co-creators. Indeed, Ntshalintshali arguably became the better-known artist, particularly as Halsted turned her attention to mentoring other young ceramicists and to the business of selling their work

The apprenticeship model was thus reproduced: artists of various levels of experience came to live and learn with Halsted at Ardmore Farm in the central Drakensberg. They would each become autonomous practitioners, recognised in their own right and (with Halsted acting as their promoter) displayed in private or public collections around the world

This is the story that Halsted narrates in Ardmore: We Are Because Of Others (Random House Struik). Her voice is supplemented at various points by those of her proteges and other associates, but for the most part the text is a memoir. Halsted writes in a chatty, informal, anecdotal mode; the prose is not scintillating, but one gets a clear sense of the personality driving the Ardmore project for almost three decades

Many who page through this book will do so not for the text but for the images. There are more than 300 photographs (most taken by Roger de la Harpe) capturing the fine detail, bold colours and quirky concepts for which Ardmore’s artists are known. Here we have vases, urns, bowls, plates, tureens, candlesticks, milk jugs, butter dishes … such a list might seem to describe functional objects, but in most cases the basic form is merely a vehicle for the decorative flourishes that constitute Ardmore’s signature painted ceramic style

The photographs bear testament, nonetheless, to a diverse range of artistic visions, temperaments and methods. As Halsted notes, there are “the realists who observe nature closely” and “the exotic artists whose work … is elegantly stylised”; there are “storytellers” who “incorporate the human figure” to depict “history and culture”, “everyday events” or social issues (“AIDS, alcohol abuse and promiscuity”); and there are “free spirits” who pursue l’art pour l’art “without inhibition or apology”

The profiles of Ardmore artists past and present are paired with examples of their work, vividly demonstrating this diversity of interests and approaches. We learn how Wonderboy Nxumalo, Lovemore Sithole, Jabu Nene, Thabo Mbele, Wiseman Ndlovu and many others followed in Bonnie Ntshalintshali’s footsteps (along with a number of her family members and namesakes — the Ntshalintshali surname features prominently in Ardmore’s history). The book’s comprehensive index will make it a useful resource for those wishing to find out more about these artists in years to come

Yet the narrative perspective remains that of Halsted, and this framing reinforces her position as patron: both one who offers patronage and one who is, potentially, patronising. The patron-potter-painter dynamic is, in this case, inflected by race, even though Halsted rejects any interpretation of Ardmore in terms of white and black; she asserts “there are no politics, gender or race in creativity”. This seems naive. Perhaps, as a girl growing up in then Rhodesia, she might be excused for having “little understanding of the politics of the day”. But surely her move to apartheid South Africa forced her to acknowledge the pervasive influence of the political

Halsted describes how she and her fellow artists felt helpless on those occasions when they “collided with a world so different from rural Africa”, establishing a binary between an idealised state of/in nature and a corrupt, tainted, urban way of life. The former, she affirms, is the proper terrain of the artist, particularly the African artist

This is a dangerous, essentialist discourse; the notion that “Africa” is rural and “the West” is urban has, in the past, been associated with colonial assumptions that Africa is backward and Europe progressive. Twentieth-century rejections of European sterility and African vitality tended only to reinscribe this polarisation

Likewise, Halsted’s celebration of Zulu identity is troubling: “In 1879, when the British invaded Zululand … it was not bullets that destroyed the Zulu nation. It was a loss of pride. In a small way, Ardmore has helped rekindle that pride.” This seems to neglect entirely a contemporary South African context in which (most notably during Jacob Zuma’s presidency) Zulu nationalism has been resurgent

The fact is that Halsted, through the sculptors, throwers and painters under her tutelage, can take credit for works of art much more nuanced than any of these sweeping claims allows. Hybrids of the traditional and the modern, the urban and the rural, these works take as their subjects both the “human”, political world and the “natural” world of fauna and flora

Academics such as Steven Smith and Anitra Nettleton have observed similar processes of fusion in Southern African art/craft more generally. In ceramics, the potters Nesta Nala and Clive Sithole represent a significant generational shift: Smith notes that, whereas Nala is renowned as a practitioner of “traditional”, collective, functional pottery, Sithole (having studied under Nala) is a studio potter whose work is more in dialogue with “the world art scene”

The Ardmore story thus fits into a local ceramic art history of accommodation and adaptation, encapsulated in the scope of ceramic collections such as those in the Iziko National Museum — which extends from Han dynasty pieces to the work of South African ceramic artists — and the Corobrik Collection at the Pretoria Art Museum. Yet the work produced at Ardmore (which has now expanded to three sites in KwaZulu-Natal) remains distinct and iconic. Perhaps, after all, Halsted and company have managed to trump both history and politics




Ardmore’s “AN AFRICAN COLLECTION” Exhibition at The Milk Factory Gallery, Bowral, NSW

July 9th, 2012



July 1st, 2012


May 16th, 2012







(Click on the link above)

For more information

please contact


02 9337 4451


May 15th, 2012


December 20th, 2011

Out first Exhibition ‘Down Under” was a huge success

Ardmore’s quirky, bright, fun, vibrant, humbling, bold, magnificent pieces were enjoyed by visitors, supporters and collectors alike

Hurry down to Peter Pinson Gallery to see this amazing collection of Ardmore Ceramics before the Exhibition ends

Labelled by Christies of London “a modern collectable” … and Exhibition reminder

December 13th, 2011

South Africa’s original and legendary Ardmore Ceramic Art has been created for 25 years by Zulu talent and soul

Labelled by Christies of London “a modern collectable”

Ardmore is internationally acclaimed and brings life and love to every home

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Ardmore  Ceramics  Exhibition


VENUE:  PETER  PINSON  GALLERY  ~   143 Edgecliff Road, Woollahra, NSW 

DATES:  Wednesday 14 December 2011  -  Friday 23 December 2011

OPENING DRINKS:  Wednesday, 14 December 2011 @ 6,00pm

 with the exhibition being opened  by

the SA High Commissioner:  H.E. Ms Koleka Mqulwana

@ 6.45pm

First Australian Exhibition: “Out of Africa” @ PETER PINSON GALLERY on 14 – 23 December 2011

December 10th, 2011

We welcome you to join us at our official launch and  first Australian Exhibition


VENUE:   PETER PINSON GALLERY ~ 143 Edgecliff Road, Woollahra, NSW

DATES:  Wednesday 14 December 2011  -  Friday 23 December 2011

OPENING DRINKS:  Wednesday, 14 December 2011 @ 6,00pm  ~  with the exhibition being opened  by the

SA High Commissioner:  H.E. Ms Koleka Mqulwana

at   6.45pm