Zulu Surface and Form: The Aesthetics of South African Ceramic Economies


ACLS Fellowship Program




Historically, beer pots express Zulu nationalism and group membership during drinking ceremonies. Today Zulu pots sold in galleries are symbols of both transforming cultural or national identities and artistic self-expression. “Zulu Surface and Form” documents literal changes in these vessels and their concomitant metaphorical connotations. Utilizing life-history interviews, visual analysis, and archival data, this inquiry into artists’ financial and aesthetic economies of production contextualizes these changes in a postcolonial network of global ceramic institutionalization, contributes to scholarship on imagined communities, and enriches cross-disciplinary studies that trace the ways in which objects and identities are intertwined.