Wonderboy for everyone

WORDS Malibongwe Tyilo

The work of Wonderboy Nxumalo, one of Ardmore Ceramic Art’s most iconic ceramicists, has been translated into a vibrant African fabric and homeware range launching at Design Indaba Expo.

Among the variety of beautiful objects to look forward to at the Design Indaba Expo this weekend, be on the lookout for Halsted, a luxurious new collection by Ardmore Ceramic Art. The collection, named after internationally acclaimed company’s founder, Fée Halsted, takes Ardmore’s distinctive African imagery and often quirky styling into new homeware designs, from tablecloths, napkins through to cushions.

The debut collection is called The Ardmore Collection, and it features the work of Wonderboy Nxumalo, one of Ardmore’s most collectible artists. Wonderboy passed away in 2008 due to HIV-related complications. It was after he found out that he was HIV-positive that he began telling his story and educating people about HIV through a monkey metaphor in his artwork (see Ardmore’s tribute to Wonderboy here).

Working with homeware manufacturer Helon Melon, Hasted taken Wonderboy’s artwork from the ceramics, simplified them and printed them onto hand-woven cotton. In line with Halsted’s goal to “transform African art into global design”, the pieces have an undeniable African aesthetic and yet are not overpowering, nor curio-esque. The tablecloths come in a range of colours, from bright yellows, rusty reds, through to blues and whites. Along with monkeys, some of Wonderboy’s other icons like hares, skulls and flowers make an appearance on the designs. 

Ardmore has been creating highly collectible ceramics for close to three decades. Throughout this time Fée has trained numerous artists, some of whose creations have been shown at auction houses like Bonhams and Christies. We’re looking forward to their fabric debut in Halsted’s future collections.

Follow Halsted Design on Twitter @HalstedDesign to keep posted.

Design Indaba Expo runs from Friday 28 February to Sunday 2 March, designindaba.com/expoSee VISI’s preview here.