An Illustrative Legacy: Art Education and Zulu ‘Crafts’

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth A. Perrill, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: This article addresses the stylistic selection and the reproduction of art illustrations in the publications of John W. Grossert, and situates his work in the history of South African art education. Utilizing Grossert's treatment of the ceramic beer pot, or ukhamba, the author demonstrates the manner in which apartheid era art education policies and pedagogical publications shaped by figures such as Grossert constricted artistic diversity and molded what were then referred to as “tribal” identities. The author asserts that the consistent distillation of artistic diversity in the publications of this foundational arts administrator canonized art forms now recognized as Zulu. After fueling apartheid era “tribal” politics, these iconic vessels were later associated with Zulu nationalism. The article concludes with descriptions of contemporary ceramic production and the continued preference for the raised bump motif, or amasumpa, that has now come to symbolize not only Zulu identity, but to connote South African rural associations in general. Thus, the article traces the continued impact of apartheid era pedagogy on contemporary art production.

Additional Information

Critical Interventions, special issue, Converging Pedagogies in African Art Education: Colonial Legacies and Post-Independence Aspirations. 8,1: 10-30.
Language: English
Date: 2014
South African art, art education, John W. Grossert, Zulu art, KwaZulu-Natal

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