Previous AA2A Artist

Sandra Whyles

Project summary:

Using the English and Chinese ceramic blue and white tradition, I have begun the process of taking the work into a unique direction, bringing into view the forgotten, the familiar and the hidden imagery and pictograms of African and Caribbean traditions, culture and life. In so doing raising questions, seeking enquiry and juxtaposing the aesthetic next to the political.

The work in this project consists of earthenware forms glazed with white tin glaze and decorated with blue on-glaze screen printed transferred images. The images have come from photographs, books and texts. The slip cast forms are taken from the large slit drums called Nedundu of the Mangbetu people in the DRC and were originally carved from one piece of wood. This is an attempt to keep the memory of this form and a reminder into the past (and present) of African creativity. The round vessels decorated with blue and white images resting on the curved stands are also reminiscent of a pestle and mortar for grinding seeds and grain for nourishment, again looking into the past as a reminder of my heritage and an inspiration for contemporary art work.

The artist book combines ceramics, printing and photography, it is the second book I have produced that accompanies the ceramic work but can also stand alone and brings together some of the ideas and thoughts connected to the work.

The AA2A programme provided me with the ideal environment to experiment with my art practice using the expertise at hand to advance my ideas. Working with what has been classed as a craft I have used this ‘craft’ to produce contemporary work bringing it into view as fine art.

As a continuous evolutionary process I see my art as experiment and research possibly never reaching a final conclusion but always striving to make a visual, cultural and emotional impact.

'Nedundu (i) Nedundu (ii) Nedundu (iii)'
White earthenware slipcast vessel, white tin glaze, onglaze blue transfer on oak, perspex and mdf made stands