Njalikwa Chongwe

The Merging Cultures Exhibition is the culmination of an intense period of research within my two key regional influences; Zambia and Australia. Research involved an experiential study of traditional Zambian potters leading to a period of experimentation with form, texture and colour back in my Fremantle studio Zinongo. The creative fusion of these two very different regions is at the centre of this exhibition at Gallows Gallery.

As potters we all hold superstitions about our pots; if you talk about the shape of the pot while making it, the pot will crack. Don’t let anyone see the pot until it is fired because it will invariably slump.

So it should not have come as a surprise to hear traditional Zambian potters share with me their own inner superstitions about why the humble lump of clay often has a mind of its own.  My tribe the Ngonis believed that you shouldn’t laugh or smile when making pots. While I the discovered the Tonga people won’t work alongside their fellow village potters for fear they will jinx their pieces.
Fortunately we all managed to put aside our inner superstitions for the project.
Cracking is something that strikes fear into most potters.
Cracking irritation factor for a potter is up among the artist’s greatest neuroses.