The chequered-inspired patterns that dominate the work of potter Sikho Mququ are inspired by traditional Eastern Cape blankets, called ityali, which are worn by Xhosa women.
The 31-year-old’s work consists of ceramic wheel-thrown and sculptured decorative and functional pieces. The stoneware pot he entered into the 2020 Innibos Craft Awards features a striking red and blue pattern in his signature style. It was thrown, carved, fired to 1 200°C and finally hand painted.
From Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, he currently lives in Dunoon, Cape Town, and has a studio in Paarden Eiland.
Sikho’s work is steadily becoming known. He combines his natural creativity with the technical expertise he learnt while doing a Diploma in Fine Arts at the Walter Sisulu University.
“There, I refined my creative thinking and my creative skills,” he says.
“Ityali is my signature theme because it enables me to translate the warmth of home through my hands and sweat into my artefacts.”
While clay is his first love, Sikho is also a great carpenter, graphic designer and screen printer. In fact, before doing fine arts, he studied IT.
Sikho’s work has been exhibited at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery, the Design Indaba Emerging Creatives exhibition, the Grahamstown Arts Festival, the Next20 Trade Exhibition at the V&A Waterfront and the Creating Conversations Exhibition. He is also supported by the Craft & Design Institute. Sikho won the Best 3-dimensional Craft Category in the Eastern Cape Arts and Culture awards in 2016.
He is currently a full-time production ceramist who is committed to transferring skills to the young and old in his community.
Sikho says the National Innibos Craft Awards is the biggest opportunity for crafters to be acknowledged and to be given a platform to expose their craft and potentially get a reward.
Entries close at midnight on 1 May, 2020
The Innibos National Craft Awards is now in its fourth year. This year, the National Department of Arts and Culture is sponsoring four additional categories: Corporate Gifts, Beaded Craft Products, Craft Produced Using Recycled Materials and Souvenirs. Each carries prize money of R20 000. The overall winner of the competition – chosen from across all disciplines – walks away with R50 000, the first runner-up with R20 000 and the second runner-up with R15 000.
It is easy to enter. Crafters need simply take a photo of their entry – next to a matchbox for size of scale, and either email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or send it to 071 621 3597 via MMS or WhatsApp. There is no entry fee and the closing date is midnight on 1 May, 2020.
Ts&Cs apply and can be found on the competition’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/Innibosnationalcraftawards.
Remember to include your name, the town in which you live and your contact details.
Entrants who have not heard from the organisers within 30 days of the closing date must take it as given that they did not make the shortlist for final judging.
For more information, please WhatsApp Jan Bhuda on 071 621 3597 or email John Anthony Boerma at email@example.com.
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