Ardmore Ceramic Studio in KwaZulu Natal was founded in the late 1980s by Fee Halsed Berning who encouraged untrained black women to come to the studio to learn ceramics. Some workers develop skills in modelling while others decorate so that most pieces are the work of two artists. The studio now has over 40 artists including a number of young men. Wonderboy Nxumalo, AIDS mug. The lively sculptural forms and vibrant decoration has won the studio international acclaim. In 2001 Wonderboy Nxumalo was one of the demonstrators at the International Ceramics Festival in Aberystwyth.
This mug with four feet and a monkey on the handle was modelled by Elias and decorated by Wonderboy. Influenced by the South African printmaker Muafangejo, Nxumalo often combines panels of text into his work. The text in broken English, as it is his second language, is a warning about AIDS. A number of the workers have died from the disease and the issue is in the forefront of everyone’s concerns. The text reads: ‘
No way without reading for more knowledge about AIDS. AIDS has no friends, no mother and father – keep yourself, know something about AIDS.