Zanoxolo Sylvester Mqeku
Zanoxolo Sylvester Mqeku was born in 1987, in Mount Fletcher a small town on the edges of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, a scatter of hills at the feet of the Drakensberg mountains. He later moved to Umtata a larger town where he graduated from High school. Zanoxolo Mqeku began his tertiary education at the Nelson Mandela University Port Elizabeth south Africa, studying for a foundation certificate in art moving on to study Architectural Technology the following year. After two years of architectural design work Mqeku discontinued and went back to the school of art and design. In 2009 he completed two years of introductory art and design studies, his qualification comprised of Painting, Graphic Design, Photography, Sculpture, Ceramic Design, Drawing and Art Theory. In April 2013, after graduating with a diploma in Ceramic Design, he moved once again to a different province, the city of Bloemfontein and began volunteer work at the historical Oliewenhuis Art Museum. In the next few months Mqeku would be granted a temporary contract of internship a partnership between Oliewenhuis Art Museum and The Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA), by May of 2014 Mqeku was permanently employed at Oliewenhuis Art Museums` education office. Early 2016, Mqeku had quit his job and enrolled himself at the Tshwane University of Technology Pretoria South Africa, later completing a B-Tech in Fine Art with a major in Research methods, and African Philosophy and thus ushering in his first academic investigations of sand cast ceramics. On a quest to develop research into the innovative studio practice of sand cast ceramics, Mqeku was commissioned as part of the Goethe Project Space (GPS) by the Goethe Institut Johannesburg, between September and October 2018, Sylvester hosted the first ever public workshop on sandcast ceramics at the central University of technology, Bloemfontein, before he began studies for his masters in design and studio Art which he spent researching the use of sand casting as a ceramic studio technique and how it adapts to public creative practice and multiple fabrication technologies. , please see link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNyuNhIIbqI , early in 2019, Mqeku was selected to participate in the (Vallauris artist in residence) program, an exclusive ceramic artist residency in Vallauris South of France. Prior to the Global pandemic and eminent shut down of international and local public spaces, Mqeku had spent two months in Dakar, Senegal. This was at the newly opened Blackrock Senegal Artist residence, Mqeku spent early 2020 as one of 16 international artists selected for the inaugural class. Engaging with Senegalese culture and art, developing cross borders conversations of contemporary African Ceramic arts practice, Mqeku created work in Dakar exploring other genres including photographic prints, Mqeku was invited to the Dakar Biennale which was scheduled for May 2020 and a travelling exhibition to New York U.S.A. due to the closure of borders, the entire showcase was postponed. In March 2021 Mqeku was selected and invited to another exclusive ceramic artist in residence program, this time in Italy at the Faenza Art Ceramic Centre, from October 1st, 2021, Zanoxolo will spend time creating work and running an exclusive workshop of his sand cast ceramics technique in the state-of-the-art facilities of the historic residence. The body of work will then be showcased at the international Museum of Ceramics in Faenza Italy.
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