Wonderboy Nxumalo was born in Greytown in 1975. During his school years in Greytown, KwaZulu-Natal, he discovered his creative talent and spent all his free time drawing, painting, writing poetry (at which he excelled) and reading comics, which he loved.
In 1994, at the age of 20, this gentle, soft-spoken man joined Ardmore and Fèe Halsted, who encouraged him to incorporate his poetry, anecdotes and personal truths into his designs. What emerged was Wonderboy’s instantly recognisable style.
Wonderboy often worked in monochrome, or limited the range of his colours, using a scratched, scrafitto technique.
His works include a collection of commemorative plates and platters depicting the Anglo-Zulu War, while his ‘monkey message’ plates and cups warn and educate his audience on the Aids pandemic.
Wonderboy was both selfless and industrious, always finding the time to share his knowledge with other artists and to show his and other artist’s pieces to the public.
His very special creations are today found in galleries worldwide. He travelled to Wales to participate in the International Ceramics Festival and also to London to represent Ardmore at the Christie’s exhibition and auction in January 2004.
To the great sorrow of the Ardmore family Wonderboy died in 2008, but his AIDS works continue to travel the world. He tells the story of his life with HIV/AIDS through the metaphor of the monkey.
His work has continued to gain international acclaim and was exhibited at the Istanbul Biennale in 2011. They also travelled to the Gerisch Museum in Hamburg, Germany in 2013 and to the Reina Sophia Museum, Madrid, Spain in 2014.
Wonderboy’s designs also live on in Ardmore’s new fabrics. Proceeds from the sale of this iconic South African design – with its important message of love in the face of HIV/AIDS – go to his mother and to Kazimula, the local AIDS orphanage.
In 2015, Ardmore celebrated 30 years and Petros Gumbi created ‘storytellers’ figurines. Masterwork number six features Zulu warriors holding replicas of Wonderboy’s Anglo-Zulu War plates, beautifully painted by Siyabonga Mbaso.
These 30 year works pay tribute to artists who have played a major part of Ardmore’s journey.