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Internationally Acclaimed Ceramicist Joins RCA Governing Body

The internationally acclaimed ceramicist, Magdalene Odundo OBE, has this month joined the Royal College of Art’s Council – the governing body of the College. Her tenure runs until February 2017.

Odundo joins 33 other council members including artist Yinka Shonibare MBE; Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum Professor Martin Roth; designer Paul Priestman and Sir James Dyson, the Provost of the RCA, who together with elected staff and students, form the body responsible for making senior appointments at the RCA and overseeing property, financial, administrative policy and general welfare matters.

Kenyan-born Odundo, who graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1982, received an OBE in 2008 in recognition of her contribution to education and the arts. The same year, she also received the African Art Recognition Award from Detroit Institute of Art.

Her pieces are made by hand, primarily using a coiling technique, rather than using a wheel. They are left unglazed and are burnished laboriously by hand. The potters of the Ganda royal court in Uganda use similar techniques to make vessels known as ‘ensumbi’. Odundo’s work is found in museums and private collections worldwide. In 2012, her piece Untitled, 1991, sold for $134,500 (£86,500) at Sotheby's New York, making it the most expensive work auctioned work by a living British ceramicist. She lives and works in Surrey, holding the position of Professor of Ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, England since 2001.

Her professional memberships include: 2011–14 REF Panel Member (Unit 34: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory); 2011 Patron & Trustee of The National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD); 2008 Appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Honour’s List for Services to the Arts.

The 34-strong Royal College of Art Council comprises non-College members as well staff and students. The Council normally meets four times a year: three term meetings and one strategy meeting. For further details, see here.