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.
Victor Shabalala was born in 1973 on Ardmore Farm in the Champagne Valley of KwaZulu-Natal. After leaving school he headed to Johannesburg, where he found employment with a large supermarket chain.
In 2001 he joined his good friend Vuzi Ntshalintshali, who had made his mark at the Ardmore studio, to find an outlet for his creativity. Over time he developed into one of Ardmore’s leading sculptors.
Victor, a passionate, highly confident artist, enjoyed working with the plasticity of clay. His talent earned him a Merit Award at the annual Absa L’Atelier competition (2009) and a prize at the KZN Regional Show (2011).
His highly inventive and challenging sculptures often represented the darker side of an unknown world. Big-eyed frogs, chameleons, lizards, snakes and crocodiles – creatures which are associated with the underworld in Zulu mythology – all featured in his work.
Victor’s fascination with fish, reptiles and chameleons in particular were recurring themes, but his deep imagination also produced bizarre images such as leopards dressed in eagle feathers and a fish clad in snake skins, swallowing one of its own. His works were often metaphors for his concern about his environment and the world at large.
Victor’s unusual pieces were included in Ardmore exhibitions around the world, and he accompanied Fée Halsted, founder of Ardmore Ceramic Art, to London in 2005.
In 2013 Victor worked as an independent artist at Ardmore and in 2014 he left for Johannesburg. His kudu being attacked by a leopard jug was selected for the Korean Biennale and was exhibited on African Forms in 2014.
While still contributing to Ardmore, Victor is now an independent, freelance artist.
3rd, Rhythms Regional Ceramic Show
City Arts CouncilEdinburgh
'Men of Ardmore’Johannesburg
Amaridian GalleryNew York
Everard Read GalleryJohannesburg
Amaridian Gallery,New York
‘Wonderful World of Ardmore’Cape Town
South Africa HouseLondon
Pascoe & Co.United States
SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art)United States
‘Travellers of Africa'Johannesburg
‘Ivory and Ebony’Cape Town
‘Clay: The Art of Earth & Fire’United States
International Ceramic ShowUnited States
‘Ardmore Aviary’Cape Town
Les Ceramiques Zouloues ArdmoreFrance
‘Endangered Animals’ exhibitionLondon
An African CollectionAustralia
Naada Faire Antiques and CollectablesJohannesburg
Fabric and book launch: Ardmore, We Are Because of OthersHermanus
Fabric and book launch: Ardmore, We Are Because of OthersCape Town
‘Grand Carnival’, fabric and book launch: Ardmore, We Are Because of OthersJohannesburg
Patrick Mavros Christmas Safari WeekLondon
A Celebration of Zulu Life and ArtistryUnited States
‘Monkeys and Magnolias'London
‘Just so Crocodiles and Other Curiosities’Johannesburg
‘Inspired by the Ocean’Hermanus
African FormsKorean Biennale
WMODA, Pascoe and Co.United States
'Animal Botanical'Cape Town
'Parrots and Pomegranates'Hyde Park
Isabelle Turquin GalleryFrance
‘Kalahari Cats’Cape Town
‘The Great Zambezi’London