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B I S I L A   N O H A

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Portrait photograph by Studio Brinth

Bisila Noha
 

Bisila Noha is a Spanish-Equatoguinean London-based ceramic artist, researcher and writer.

 

With her work she aims to challenge Western views on art and craft; to question what we understand as productive and worthy in capitalist societies; and to reflect upon the idea of home and oneness pulling from personal experiences in different pottery communities. She is a storyteller with a particular interest in the contributions of women of colour to the history of art and craft. As such, her words are a bridge bringing the past - the forgotten, the ignored, the belittled - to the present; to us.

Bisila’s ceramics practice extends from wheel-thrown pieces with the distinctive addition of marbled slip decoration to create eye-catching abstract landscapes; to sculptural pieces mixing throwing, coiling and carving which connect her to her roots, the makers that precede her and our past.

 

Her work can be found in many public and private collections including the V&A, the Crafts Council, Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery and the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.

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'Primus I', Terracotta, h. 27 x dia. 42 cm, by Bisila Noha

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About the Primus series:

A vessel that once held now is learning to hold itself

 

Primus is an exploration of dance, textiles, and clay’s movement possibilities and relationship to gravity.

 

It is named after American dancer, choreographer and anthropologist Pearl Primus.

 

Just like Primus defied gravity with her five-foot-high jumps, these pieces are both falling and holding their stance. The clay opening, flapping, swaying, like the dancer’s clothes.

 

Among different sources of inspiration, Primus is known to have choreographed based on imagining the movement she observed in African sculpture. I move in the opposite direction — sculpting based on observed movement from Primus and other women dancers from the late XIX and XX centuries.

 

What’s inside becomes an integral, visible part of the whole.

We fall, we break.

Physically, emotionally. We hold ourselves.

We stand up again.

Stronger. Wiser. Brighter.

C U R R E N T   W O R K 

About the Ignis series:

We all carry a fire

It keeps us warm, it brightens our lives.

Our inner child

Play, fun. No rules, no expectations.

Creative, present.

 

All that I once sacrificed. Achieving, becoming, arriving ruled my life.

Ignis is my pathway to a balanced existence.

 

Clay. The soil we stand on, we come from. It requires patience, steadiness, a slow pace. It needs care, attentiveness to be shaped, to prevent ruin.

My adult, my parent.

 

Plaster, on the other hand, is the child.

Spontaneous, quick.

One minute liquid, the next hard like a stone. Be here or it is gone.

 

Bringing these two materials and the different qualities they have and foster together, has allowed me to be more me, to get closer to a sense of wholeness. Letting that fire burn, shine, while remaining grounded, nurtured.

 

A balance resulting from the combination of materials I had once been told should not be combined. I transcended that conflict to find the joy and peace I had lacked.

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G A L L E R Y   C O L L E C T I O N

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