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.
Somandla Ntshalintshali was born on 13 September 1980 at Ardmore Farm in the Champagne Valley, KwaZulu-Natal, where he attended Mountain View Primary School.
Somandla was working as a gardener at Ardmore when Moses Nqubuka offered him the opportunity to sculpt in the studio. He leaped at the chance and started at Ardmore in 2003.
He comes from a creative family and is related to Bonnie Ntshalintshali, the first Ardmore artist.
He says: “When I was cutting the grass and working in the garden, I used to go into the studio during lunch time and play with the clay. When I was playing with the clay, Fée Halsted, founder of Ardmore, came and she commended my pieces. Then I knew that I could do it. I felt the power to carry on and I felt happy.”
Somandla is a brilliant sculptor and very concerned with form. He chooses to sculpt animals with a natural lyrical grace: elephants with their long trunks, giraffes and cranes with their long necks. Even crocodiles, lizards, chameleons and porcupines are curled into bowls and vessels with a swirl of movement and grace.
In 2011 a baboon platter modelled by Somandla was presented to the Empress of Japan by Max Sisulu, Speaker of the South African National Assembly, and the same year his Leopard and Lion Hunt Urn was selected to represent South Africa at the Korean Biennale, where he won a merit award with painter Jabu Nene.
In 2014 one of Somandla’s large elephant vases was chosen for a photographic shoot for a decorating magazine in London and the year after a similar elephant vessel was selected by Southern Guild to represent South Africa at Art Basel, Miami. It was sold at the opening night.
In 2015 Somandla created pieces for Ardmore’s 30th anniversary Masterworks collection.
Korean Biennale (Merit award)
City Arts CouncilScotland
‘Men of Ardmore’Johannesburg
Everard Read GalleryJohannesburg
Amaridian GalleryUnited States
Wonderful World of Ardmore’Cape Town
South Africa HouseLondon
Pascoe & Co.United States
Travellers of Africa’Johannesburg
‘Ivory and Ebony’Cape Town
‘Clay: The Art of Earth & Fire’United States
NAADA (National Antiques & Decorative Arts) FaireJohannesburg
Eboka Spring CollectionPretoria
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
Pascoe & CoUnited States
'Monkeys and Magnolias'London
Isabelle Turquin GalleryFrance
Journee des CeramiquesFrance
‘Just So Crocodiles and Other Curiosities’Johannesburg
Creel and GowUnited States
Pascoe & Co.United States
‘Great Herds of Africa’,Cape Town
‘Great Herds of Africa’,London
‘Inspired by the Ocean’Western Cape
‘Birds of Africa’Johannesburg
‘Great Herds of Africa’,Kenya
Art Basel Deign FairUnited States
‘Birds of Africa’Zimbabwe
Celebrating Ardmore ArtistsUnited States
WMODA, Pascoe & Co.United States
‘Animal Botanical’Cape Town
‘Kalahari Cats’Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town
'The Great Zambezi’Patrick Mavros, London
'Celebrating the Year of the Monkey'Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg
'The Great Zambezi'Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town
'Savuti Dance'Patrick Mavros, London
'o'kavango'Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg