“True beauty and usefulness always go hand in hand” – Quintilian, Roman retorician. Like her near-namesake, the 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume, Dahla Hulme believes that beauty and utility are not distinct. Dahla’s art has a utilitarian purpose in addition to decoration.
As a sculptor, Dahla combines natural grace and poise with single-mindedness of purpose and phenomenal focus. She grew up on a Namibian cattle farm, studied art with a photography major in Georgia, USA, lived in Scotland and Ireland, became a commercial pilot and took up sculpture after relocating to the Eastern Free State six years ago.
The most important elements in her work are line, composition, balance and texture. “The lines should be clean, the textures earthy and pure – wood, metal, bone and leather.” Dahla’s sought-after sculptures grace boardrooms, public areas, gardens and private collections.
Dahla lives and works in Rosendal, where she shares a gallery, Meerkatkolonie, with painter Michèle Nigrini. She also creates sustainable job opportunities for the local community of Mautse, mostly by making unique pieces of furniture for game lodges.
She also works on commission – she will visit your home or office and design for that specific space, using treasured personal items or functional items related to a particular business or industry in her work.
She is on a kitchen tangent at the moment, helping to create interactive kitchens, designing and building work surfaces, tables and chopping boards.
Dahla has an unwavering eye for design. She is a fixer, a maker of plans, an engineer of solutions. She believes in serendipity: the act of coincidentally making fortunate discoveries. In the farming community surrounding Rosendal, forsaken farm implements and outworn, used up objects come to hand. She is attracted to the lines, shapes and textures of these implements that have passed through people’s hands. She sees these discarded objects as uniquely part of our national heritage.
Dahla makes these abandoned objects resonate with a rare beauty that has been stripped to the bone. She combines these found objects with the area’s sandstone, blocks of weathered wood, animal skulls and sun-bleached bones in an unexpected, innovative marriage of line and texture.
These are works that present themselves positively: they step into the world substantially and don’t retreat from it. They are a resurgence of elements that have already completed one life cycle of usefulness and abandonment. They now serve as tables, dishes, lights, murals and garden sculptures.
For more information visit Dahla Hulme