Lungiswa Joe is a Cape Town ceramicist and the founder of the Inxwala Slow Market. While working at the Craft Design Institute, she was exposed to various creative mediums. Captivated by the ancient medium of clay as a “keeper of times, history making and story” Lungiswa started her journey with ceramics in 2018. There’s a lively quality to her expressive clay pieces, which are born of intentional listening and, through their naming, the honouring of the women in her family and black women.
My ceramics practice is intimately bound with notions of sensibility, and is linked to my sense of perception as a means to gather knowledge. Clay has taught me to not just listen with my ears or only see with my eyes, but has taught me to use every part of my body as a conduit ready to receive and transmit information. I work intuitively, immerse myself in the material, allowing the process to unfold.
Of mixed heritage, my lineage includes AmaXhosa, Zambian and Khoi ancestors. When I create, I’m always conscious of a female presence which I recognize as my late grandmother who opened my eyes to the plight of her Khoi people. The khoi were the first people in Southern Africa, they were skilled hunter-gatherers and nomadic farmers who lived off the land. The khoi have been given derogatory, insensitive and ill-informed names since the first arrival of European settles. Offensive names like Hottentonts, today we see a decline of an entire people.
My work is characterised by earthy washed and gritty mud textured walls. The shape of some of my vessels echo the dance and silhouette of my Khoi people. Yet other pieces reveal hints of the colourful Southern African cultures that inspire me.
I believe that clay found me and helped me understand the meaning of ‘peace that transcends understanding’.