Betty Ntshingila

Betty was born in 1962 in Loskop, Emangweni, in KwaZulu-Natal.

On leaving school, she worked as a domestic worker on a farm in the Champagne Valley, close to where the original Ardmore ‘Berg studio was started by Fée Halsted in the 1980s. She then worked building mud and daub houses near the town of Estcourt.

In 2002, Betty was introduced to Ardmore by sculptor, Nhlanhla Nsundwane, as a way to support her family of six children and she began her sculpting career in the ‘Berg studio under his mentorship.

When this studio closed in 2009, Betty was devastated. The following year she moved to the studio at Caversham and rejoined her Ardmore family.

Betty’s skills as a female sculptor are unusual at Ardmore, yet she has found her niche and excelled in the traditionally male-dominated sculpture studio.

Her caring and nurturing instincts are reflected in her work and her maternal traits are seen in her choice of subject matter: birds and bees all busy with life’s chores, building nests, laying eggs and feeding their offspring.

In May 2011, Betty accompanied Fée and painter, Punch Shabalala, as guest artists to a symposium entitled Clay: The Art of Earth & Fire, at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, United States, where her talent was applauded. This trip proved to be a life-changing experience for Betty.

She says: “I am happy to be at Ardmore. It gives me fresh ideas every day and now I have experience in my art… I went to the USA and I was inspired by what I saw there.”

In 2012 Betty excelled with her work for ‘The Ardmore Aviary’ exhibited in Cape Town at the Cellars-Hohenhort.

Her monkey tureen with baby was one of Fée’s favourites at the ‘Monkey’s and Magnolia’ exhibition at Patrick Mavros, London.

Later that same year Betty’s bird sculptures were selected to narrate the vices and virtues of life in South Africa in a major commission called The South African Formula.

One was a weaver-bird building its nest used as a metaphor for the Delivery of Promise. The second was a crow, jewelled ring in its beak and figures upon its back illustrating a mugging as a symbol of the problem of theft in South Africa.

In 2013, Betty’s talented son, Sibusiso, rejoined the studio and Betty continued to excel in her sculpting.

Towards the end of that year she worked closely alongside Petros Gumbi and created some wonderful wildebeest riders in preparation for the ‘Great Herds’ show in February 2014.

In the September of that year Betty’s weaver bird sculptures and carved bird teacups gained great attention at the ‘Birds of Africa’ show at Charles Greig Sandton, as well as her large wattled crane tureen, painted by Wiseman Sithole (which found a home in Boston with collector Larry Singer).

Exhibitions

2004


City Arts Council

2005


Private exhibition for the South African High CommissionerHighveld, London

2006


Private exhibition for the South African High CommissionerHighveld, London

2007


Christie’s auctionLondon

‘Cats of the World’Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

2008


‘The Wonderful World of Ardmore’Groote Schuur, Cape Town

2009


Ardmore exhibitionSouth Africa House, London

2010


Pascoe & Co.Florida, United States

NAADA (National Antiques & Decorative Arts) FaireJohannesburg

AnagamaVersailles, France

Amaridian GalleryNew York

‘Travellers of Africa’Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

2011


‘Ivory & Ebony’Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town

Hallwyl MuseumStockholm, Sweden

‘Earth & Fire’Tremaine Gallery, Hotchkiss School, Connecticut, United States

Le Negresco HotelNice, France

NAADA (National Antiques & Decorative Arts) FaireJohannesburg

‘Sprung from the Reeds: Ardmore and Ukhamba’Ardmore Caversham

Eboka Spring CollectionPretoria

AnagamaVersailles, France

2012


International Ceramic ShowEd Pascoe, West Palm Beach, United States

‘Ardmore Aviary’Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town

Les Ceramiques Zouloues ArdmoreParis, France

‘Endangered Animals’Patrick Mavros, London

An African CollectionThe Milk Factory Gallery, Bowral, Australia

Naada Faire Antiques and CollectablesJohannesburg

Fabric and book launch: Ardmore, We Are Because of OthersHermanus, Western Cape

Fabric and book launch: Ardmore, We Are Because of OthersCellars-Hohenort, Cape Town

‘Grand Carnival’ fabric and book launch: Ardmore, We Are Because of OthersCharles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

Ardmore in LuxembourgLuxembourg

Ardmore in MauritiusPG Mavros, Terre Rouge

Patrick Mavros Christmas Safari WeekLondon

A Celebration of Zulu Life and ArtistrySt Louis, United States

Ardmore AustraliaSydney, Australia

2013


Pascoe & Co.West Palm Beach, United States

‘Monkeys and Magnolias’Patrick Mavros, London

Gallery Isabelle TurquinParis, France

Journee, des ceramiquesSt Sulpice, Paris, France

Africa Trade FairJapan

Fyn Arts FestivalHermanus, Western Cape

Naada FaireSandton, Johannesburg

‘Animal Stories’Gardiner Museum, Toronto, Canada

‘Just So Crocodiles and Other Curiosities’Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg

Franschhoek Literary FestivalFranschhoek, Western Cape

Creel and GowNew York, United States

‘Safari Week’Patrick Mavros, London

Patrick MavrosHarare, Zimbabwe

2014


Pascoe and Co.Miami, Florida, United States

‘Great Herds of Africa’Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town

‘Great Herds of Afica’Patrick Mavros, London

‘Inspired by the Ocean’Fyn Arts, Hermanus, Western Cape

‘Birds of Africa’Charles Greig, Sandton, Johannesburg

‘Great Herds of Africa’Patrick Mavros, Nairobi, Kenya

‘Birds of Africa’Patrick Mavros, Harare, Zimbabwe

2015


WMODA, Pascoe & Co.Dania Beach, Florida, United States

‘Animal Botanical’Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town

2016


‘Kalahari Cats’Cellars-Hohenhort, Cape Town

‘The Great Zambezi'Patrick Mavros, London

'Celebrating the Year of the Monkey'Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Sandton

2017


'The Great Zambezi'Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town