Ian Garrett (1971- )

Collapsible content


Hailing from the Eastern Cape, Ian Garrett is a South African master ceramicist now working and residing in the Western Cape. His artistic journey is a testament to his lifelong fascination with the age-old craft of hand-building, burnishing, and pit-firing ceramics. Informed by a deep knowledge of archaic traditions, Garrett's nuanced, hybrid vessels appear both timeless and strikingly contemporary. Original forms and highly refined, intricate surfaces characterize Garrett's oeuvre, with glossy burnished areas contrasted against elaborate swathes of matt-textured linear motifs. Suggesting fingerprints, cartographic contours, or magnetic force fields, these lines appear to make visible hidden energies within the clay fabric. Garrett's academic pursuits led him to study a BFA in sculpture at Rhodes University, before moving on to graduate cum laude with an MFA in Ceramics from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Collections include the South African National Gallery in Cape Town, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Gallery in Gqeberha, the Pretoria Art Museum, the Die Neue Sammlung Design Museum in Munich and the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington D.C.



‘Polyrhythmic Clay’, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa.

‘Colourground’ (in collaboration with John Newdigate), EBONY/CURATED, Franschhoek, South Africa.

‘Behind the Lines’, EBONY/CURATED, Franschhoek, South Africa

‘The Earth is Watching Us’, Kim Sacks Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Kim Sacks Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa


EXPO Chicago, EBONY/CURATED, Chicago, United States of America
Investec Cape Town Art Fair, EBONY/CURATED, Cape Town, South Africa

‘Ceramics Invitational; Shaping the future of Contemporary Ceramics in South Africa’, FADA Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa
Expo Chicago, EBONY/CURATED, Chicago, United States of America
Investec Cape Town Art Fair, EBONY/CURATED, South Africa

'Re-Imagining Clay in South Africa in the 21st Century', EBONY/CURATED, Franschhoek, South Africa

'A Different Perspective', Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, Germany
‘Connected By Fire’, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Durbanville, South Africa

Gyeonggi International Ceramics Biennale, Icheon, South Korea

Taiwan Ceramics Biennial, Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei, Taiwan

‘Earth Revelations’, Amaridian Gallery, Manhattan, United States of America

‘Confluence: Ian Garrett and Rae Hearn’, Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, South Africa

‘Barbara Lindop at Home’, Johannesburg, South Africa

‘Ukucwebezela: To Shine’, Faulconer Gallery, Grinnell College, Iowa and Indiana University Art, Museum, Bloomington, Indiana, United States of America
‘Jabulisa’, Gallery Aloft, Sydney, Australia

‘World Ceramics: Transforming Women’s Traditions’, Carleton College, Minnesota, United States of America

‘Homage to Nesta Nala’, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

‘Sankofa African Ceramics’, The Manchester Museum, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom


South African National Gallery, Cape Town
Durban Art Gallery, Durban
Iziko Museums - Social History Collection, Cape Town
Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth
Pretoria Art Musuem - Corrobric Collection, Pretoria
Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg
Vukani Zulu Cultural Museum, Eshowe
William Humphrey’s Art Gallery, Kimberley


Indiana University Collection, United States of America
University of Aberystwyth Collection, United Kingdom
Private collection of HRH Duke Franz of Bavaria, Germany
Die Neue Sammlung Design Museum, Munich, Germany
Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington DC, United States of America


Clay Formes, CONTEMPORARY CLAY FROM SOUTH AFRICA, 2023. ISBN 978 063 977 9744
Coetsee, Elbe. Craft Art in South Africa: Creative Intersections. 2015. Jonathan Ball Publishers, Jeppestown. Pg 90-93. ISBN 978 1 868426 14 0
Perrill, Elizabeth. Zulu Pottery. 2012. Print Matters (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town. Pg 78, 79. ISBN 978 0 9802609 9 1
Von Dassow, Sumi. Low Firing and Burnishing. 2009. A & C Black, London. Pg 24, 25, 54, 61, 63-65. ISBN 978-1-4081-0636-5
Coetsee, Elbe. Craft Art in South Africa. 2002. Struik Publishers. Pg 82 -83. ISBN 1 86872 768 8
Sellschop,S, Goldblatt,W & Hemp,D. 2002. Craft South Africa. Pan Macmillan S.A. Pg 77 & 81 ISBN 0 62029227 X

Works by Ian Garrett (1971- )

1 of 11