Our ceramics are made by local artists - ordinary people from the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, who are given training, materials, a studio and a guaranteed market for their work, under the guidance of our founder, Fée Halsted.
Bonnie Ntshalintshali was born on Ardmore Farm in the Winterton district of KwaZulu-Natal in 1967.
She suffered from polio as a girl and because she was not strong enough for farm labouring, her mother asked Fée Halsted if she would teach her ceramics.
In 1985, she was apprenticed to Fée as a studio assistant. While learning basic ceramic techniques, Bonnie’s natural ability in both sculpture and painting was quickly recognised, and she was encouraged by Fée to pursue her own work.
In 1988 Bonnie received the Corobrik National Ceramic Award; and in 1990 she won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award jointly with Fée.
That same year, 1990, she spent a term at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, studying under Juliet Armstrong and Ian Calder.
In 1991, Standard Bank commissioned a series of original prints from its award-winning artists. Using her own sculpture as inspiration, Bonnie produced a series of original silk-screens which were shown that year at the print festival in Grahamstown.
Bonnie constructed her complex pieces by coiling or building from solid forms. Fired to 1200 degrees, the work was then richly and meticulously decorated.
Many of her sculptures drew inspiration from her mission school education. Biblical tales were retold with simplicity and candour.
A hallmark of Bonnie’s work was her narrative piling of elements or vertical storytelling. Her pieces combined a strong Zulu tradition with her own imaginative response to western imagery.
“Her narrative flows richly,” wrote Achille Bonito Oliva, Director of the Visual Arts Section of the 1993 Venice Biennale, “there are still many stories to be told.”
Bonnie’s work is represented in major collections throughout South Africa, Great Britain and America.
In 1992 she exhibited at the Seville Expo in Spain. In 1993 her work was displayed at the Venice Biennale and in Rome and Amsterdam. In 1995 she exhibited at the South African Biennale in Johannesburg. Her work is also in private collections all over the world.
To the great sadness of the Ardmore family Bonnie died of HIV-related illness in 1999.
As Ardmore’s first artist her legacy has inspired the many other artists who have followed her at Ardmore.
1988 – Corobrik National Ceramic Award
1990 – Standard Bank Young Artist Award
1993 – Natal Trust Biennial Merit Award
1997 – Telkom, Art and the Internet Award
Cruise, W. (1991) – Contemporary Ceramics in South Africa, Cape Town; Struik Winchester – p. 92, 94, 148, 174-177 & 190
Arnold, M. (1996) – Women and Art in South Africa, Cape Town; David Philip Publishers – p. 16
Scott, G. (1998) – Ardmore: An African Discovery, Cape Town; Fernwood Press
Young, A. (1999) – Setting Up A Pottery Workshop, London; A, C & Black – p.66
Vincentelli, M. (2003) – Women Potters: Transforming Traditions, London; A, C & Black – p. 62-63 & 187
Watterson, L. (ed.) (2009) – Standard Bank Young Artist Awards 25 Years, Johannesburg; DeskLink Media – p.60
Kerrod, J. (2010) – Southern African Ceramics: Their Marks, Monograms & Signatures, Johannesburg; BoE Stockbrokers – p. 4-12
D’Alton, M. (ed.) (2010) – The Global Africa Project, New York; Museum of Arts and Design – p. 74 & 210
Theron, R. (ed.) (2012) – Ardmore: We Are Because of Others, Cape Town; Fernwood Press
Helen de Leeuw GalleryJohannesburg
With de Morgan in MindElizabeth Gordon Gallery, Durban
Figurative CeramicsAnnex Gallery, Cape Town
Gallery InternationalCape Town
Corobrik NationalCape Town
100 Artists for LifeElizaeth Gordon Gallery, Durban
Clay PlusUNISA Gallery, Pretoria
Natal Arts Trust BiennalePietermaritzburg
Natal Society of Arts GalleryDurban
National Arts Festival, Standard Bank AwardGrahamstown
VITA Arts Now Exhibition
Decade of Young Artists Print Art FestivalGrahamstown
Elizabeth Gordon GalleryDurban
Cape Town TriennialCape Town
Gallery on TyroneJohannesburg
Venice BiennialeAperto, Italy
Durbanville GalleryCape Town
Natal Arts TrustPietermaritzburg
Africa Earthed - South African BiennialJohannesburg
The Spirit of Our Storie (print exhibition)Grahamstown
Arnolfini GalleryBristol, England
South African National Ceramic Exhibition (guest artist)Pretoria
Telkom, Art and the Internet (traveling exhibition)Durban
Vita Crafts Now ExhibitionPretoria
Mecklenberg Charity Show for Nelson MandelaGroote Schuur, Cape Town
State President's Guest HousePretoria