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How Southern Guild Became a Go-To Source for South African Design

With their unerring eye and passion for design, husband and wife team, Julian and Trevyn McGowan, have put South African design on the map. Former set and interior designers in London, the couple relocated to Cape Town because of the promise they saw in South African talents, many of whom struggled to attract notice. Since their founding of Southern Guild in 2008, they have developed an impressive roster of artists and designers, whose works are attracting a global audience and increasing prominence. While the gallery now participates in major fairs such as Salon Art + Design in New York, Design Miami/, and PAD London, an element of risk-taking and propulsion remains. Take, for example, the young ceramic artist Zizipho Poswa, who is one of Southern Guild’s most dramatic success stories. Several years ago, Julian invited her to join a group exhibition at the gallery, and she’s been on an upward trajectory ever since, expanding her practice to include striking, large-scale forms that chronicle her journey as a Xhosa woman.