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Xanthe Somers


For Create/Elevate, Xanthe Somers has created a new sculpture entitled Eye of the Beholder which provides a critical reflection upon Harewood’s collection of Sèvres porcelain which has become a symbol for refinement, sophistication, and beauty the world over. 

Somers’ ceramic artworks deploy traditional Zimbabwean craft techniques and are informed by the politics and aesthetics of the colonial history of Zimbabwe. Her work seeks to reimagine everyday life through what she terms the ‘subtle treason of objects’. Through a sense of play, bright colours, mocking tone and exaggerated forms, Somers challenges the prevailing ideas associated with beauty and refinement which have been manipulated by the colonial gaze and the systematic repressions fixed upon southern Africa. Somers describes her vessels as containers of stories of colonial histories and narratives.

Find Eye of the Beholder in the Ante Room