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Xanthe Somers

Inspired by artists like Franz West, Simphiwe Nduzube, and Moffat Takadiwa, London-based, Zimbabwe-born ceramics artist Xanthe Somers creates pieces that capture both her heritage and adopted home. With a current practice that deals with reimagining functional, domestic objects, and a proclivity for bold colour, exaggerated shapes, and oversized silhouettes, Xanthe’s work is informed by her art residencies at the Fusion Art Gallery in Turin and the Index in Zurich. When asked what she’d do if she wasn’t an artist her answer is simple and emphatic: “The only thing I have ever wanted is to be an artist”. Read Xanthe’s interview with Trobat AND SHOP HER EXCLUSIVE COLLECTION OF PIECES ON TROBAT.CO BELOW.

What is your discipline and when did you first encounter it?

I’m a ceramic sculptor. I first took up ceramics as a creative hobby to get through my day job in London. I joined a shared studio space and soon became completely captivated by the medium. After a year there I opened my own studio space and bought my first kiln.

What was your journey to becoming an artist?

I studied Fine Art at university and always knew I wanted to be creative, but it was only when I started playing with clay that I truly started engaging as an artist.

Who are the key artists whose work inspires your own?

Franz West, Simphiwe Ndzube, Betty Woodman, Moffat Takadiwa, Rose Wylie, and Kiluanji Kia Henda.

Tell us about your studio?

I have two spaces, one in London that is very small in Peckham Levels—a six floor parking lot that has been converted into artist studios and creative spaces. It is a vibrant hub for creativity. Another space is in Harare—an isolated space mostly outdoors under the trees. 

Who's on your dream dinner party guest list, and what do you serve?

Dumbledore, Amelie, Batman, Black Panther, The Mad Hatter and Matilda.

What's a film you watched and book you've read recently that had an impact on you?

I read ‘The Book Of Memory’ by Petina Gappah, a Zimbabwean lawyer and writer. It is a story based in Harare where I grew up and it’s rare to read books written by Zimbabweans about Zimbabweans telling stories that need to be told and shared.

If you weren't an artist, what would you have been?

The only thing I have ever really wanted to be is an artist.

What is your star sign and do you believe you embody it?

I am a Leo. I do not put much store by star signs, but if I am to embody anything that aligns with a Leo I hope that I can be brave – as an artist you are required to have buckets of bravery.




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