Njalikwa Chongwe

Njalikwa was born in Sydney, Australia in January 1966. His Zambian father and Australian mother met while his father was studying Law at the University of Western Australia under the Colombo Scholarship Programme.

Njalikwa's interest in ceramic art developed during his early years in Zambia surrounded by a rich collection of African art and craft and hands on experiences with local artists, immersed in a family with a deep interest in traditional and modern art and craft.

He was educated in Zambia and Western Australia and by the age of 14 was already showing an interest in his chosen medium clay. Njalikwa traces his ceramic talents to his great grandmother, Wajipha, a traditional Ngoni potter. After completing a diploma in Studio Ceramics in 1988 he and his wife Jacqueline Rodrigues opened Zinongo Gallery/Studio in South Fremantle.

Njalikwa returns regularly to Zambia to renew his connections with his artistic roots, essential, he explains, to the continuing evolution of his work.

Njalikwa produces a wide range of ceramics pieces. He explores a range of forms and styles which make his work hard to compartmentalise. Njalikwa's Raku ware stretches the boundaries in the way he achieves brilliant colours and refined forms using a technique that is both difficult to control and master because of the stresses and strains it places on his pieces.

Njalikwa's stoneware pieces enable him to continue to explore the area between the strictly functional and purely decorative, as he creates a variety of vessels from the distinctive teapot to his latest creation the calabash series. The calabash form is a blend of Njalikwa's key influences: his love of the Australian ocean and his connection to Africa. Based on the calabash gourd form, these pieces hint at the form of the sea urchin shell like form. However the most delightful thing about the calabash form is not just its appearance but how comfortably it fits into the palm of the hand, making it a truly unique piece of ceramic design.

Made in Western Australia.

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