Sandile Brian Cele is our resident artist at Collaborate. His ceramic work boldly
amalgamates his Zulu heritage with his “contemporary, urban Afropunk influences” and thus fuses his contemporary world with traditional inspiration. Cele’s meditation on both the old and the new has led to the creation of what he dubs the Zulu Goth. This concept and collection combine Cele’s interest in the isiqhaza – the traditional Zulu earplug – with various tribes across the world who also make use of body modification, scarification, and embellishment. He further explores these practices and rituals through the lens of gothic culture and architecture, which began in Europe. His work thus spans across culture and time, highlighting and juxtaposing that which is forgotten and denigrated by some but celebrated by others.
Cele effortlessly finds a connection between these cultures and spaces while still
retaining a distinct link to his past. By fusing the two, he makes room for a new era. Cele utilises this inspiration in the creation of his functional objects and sculptures and brings the Zulu Goth to life. For Cele, art is much like a “language” and thus offers him a way to communicate with the world.