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About The Artist

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Artist Biography

Emma Willemse is a conceptual artist, lecturer and curator living and working in Riebeek Kasteel in the Swartland of the Western Cape in South Africa. Her art-making practice deals with issues of displacement, place-making and sense of place. She holds a Master’s degree in Visual Art from the University of South Africa, and qualifications in psychology and librarianship.

Emma has exhibited extensively in South Africa, Africa and abroad and her works have been included in the Art Bank Joburg, the Nando’s Collection in UK and South Africa, the Arcadia Collection and the South African Embassy in Beijing. Her award winning artist’s book installation, consisting of 101 handmade books, has been exhibited in Stellenbosch, South Africa; Florence, Italy; Paris, France; London, UK; and at the Dak’Art Biennale in Senegal.

Her most recent commission work, the public sculptural installation called The Stone Circle Project, was conceived and executed during the Covid-19 lockdown period in South Africa. Situated in her hometown, the work partly involves a collaboration with a collective of young creatives in the Riebeek Valley community. The aesthetics of this elaborative project is currently informing her technically varied art-making practice, which include artist’s books, printmaking, painting, drawing and installations.

Artist CV

QUALIFICATIONS

BA (FA) (PU for CHE) 1982;

HDLib (PU for CHE) 1984;

Hons B Bibl (UNISA) 1998;

Psychology III (UNISA) 2004;

Adv Dip Visual Art (UNISA) 2006 (Cum Laude)

MVA (UNISA) 2011 (Cum Laude)

RECENT EXHIBITIONS

2020:
February
Solo show, Uproot, RK Contemporary, Riebeek Kasteel

February/March
Group show, 2020 Double Vision, curated by Tiaan van Deventer, ArtB, Bellville, Cape Town

27 April onwards
Group show, Freedom day in lockdown, curated by Mandy Conidaris for the online platform outoftheCUBE


August
The Stone Circle Project unveiled, a public sculpture installation and community project at the Royal Hotel Amphitheatre in Riebeek Kasteel, commissioned by the Arts Town Riebeek Valley and executed in a period of six weeks during the lockdown period.

October
Group show, The Printing Girls 2020 at The Art Room Parkhurst, Johannesburg.

December
Solo Studios 2020 in Riebeek Kasteel.
2019:
March
Group show, Tribute, curated by Elfriede Dreyer at the KKNK art festival, Oudtshoorn

April
Group show, Home Ground, curated by Amy Pike, Dyman Gallery, Stellenbosch

July to September
Group show, Self, curated by Pierre le Riche, Gallery at Glen Carlou, Stellenbosch

August
Solo show, Solo Studios event, Riebeek Kasteel, Western Cape

2018:
March
Solo show, Archiving loss and longing.
Festival artist at the Woordfees, Stellenbosch.
Nominated for a KykNet Fiesta prize in the Visual Art category.

July
Group show, Feast your eyes exhibition, Nando’s, Nottinghill, London.

August
Solo show, Solo Studios event, Riebeek Kasteel

August to October
Group show, Boundless objects, curated by Helene van Aswegen, Toffee Gallery, Darling, Western Cape

October
Group show, Ethics, affect and endurance exhibition, curated by Gwen Miller, coinciding with the 6th International Conference on Ethics Education, Spier, Stellenbosch

October
Solo show, Rupture, special project at 1:54 African Art Fair, London

October
Group show, Nando’s booth, 1:54 African Art Fair, London

December
Group show, Forward..., Stellenbosch University Centenary Exhibition, Stellenbosch Museum

2017:
March
Group show, Booknesses, FADA Gallery, University of Johannesburg

April
Solo show, The body of the book, Orafrica, Paris, France

May
Group show, Winter Sculpture Fair, Nirox, Cradle of Humankind, Gauteng

June
Group show, A Romulus Rebus: Imaging the empire, Priest Gallery, Johannesburg

June
Group show, Sculpture on the Cliffs, curated by Lien Botha, Fynbos Art Festival, Hermanus

August
Solo show, Solo Studios, Riebeek Kasteel

2016:
April
Group show, The crossing place, curated by Mandy Conidaris, KKNK, Oudtshoorn

May
Group show, Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar Senegal.
Invited to exhibited the artist’s book installation entitled 100 ways to long for a home; and present a paper on the work at the AABF (African Art Book Fair)

July
Solo show, 101 ways to long for a home, Installation section of Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg

August
Solo show, Solo Studios, Riebeek Kasteel

September
Group show, 100 Geographies, hosted by the Society of South African Geographers, Stellenbosch University Art Museum, Stellenbosch

September
Participating and hosting the GNAP (Global Nomadic Art Project), a nomadic collaboration with 9 international land artists

2015:
July
outoftheCube exhibition of artist’s books

July
Participate in the Turbine Art Fair at the outoftheCube booth

July
Group show, Response, featuring Unisa Visual Arts lecturers, Unisa Gallery, Pretoria

September
Group show, South African art prints with 20 artists, curated by Mandy Conidaris, Grenchen Triennale, Switzerland

October
Solo show, 101 ways to long for a home, Florence Biennale, Italy. Receive second prize in the Installation category

November
Retrospective solo show, Hoofstraat Conceptual, Riebeek Kasteel

ART WORKS INCLUDED IN COLLECTIONS

SA Embassy, Beijing, China

Arcadia Collection

Nando’s UK

Nando’s Head Office, Johannesburg

Art Bank Johannesburg

Rustenburg Civic Centre

Potchefstroom Museum

Potchefstroom University

Private collections in South Africa, Europe and USA

AWARDS

Nominated for the KykNet Fiesta prize in Visual Arts: Archives of loss and longing at Woordfees 2018

Awarded second prize in the Installations category at the Florence Biennale, October 2015 for the artist’s book installation entitled: 101 ways to long for a home.

ADJUDICATOR

National adjudicator for the Sasol New Signatures 2016.

Regional adjudicator for ABSA l’Atelier, Sasol New Signatures and Vuleka Art Competitions from 2013 to 2019.

Judge for Woordfees Visual Art trophy 2019

CURATOR

2014:
A torrent in the sandpit – an exhibition by Christel Liebenberg and Hanne-Lize Delport on the outoftheCUBE virtual gallery space

2010-13:
Curated UNISA students exhibitions, ArtB Gallery, Grande Provence Gallery, Franschhoek and the Lovell Gallery, Woodstock.

2010:
Insight exhibition at RustenVrede Gallery, Durbanville

2008:
Curator for Paper Blanket Project Exhibition on Main Festival at KKNK Arts Festival Oudtshoorn, comprising the works of ten private students.

TEACHING WORK

2008 till 2018:
Contract lecturer in Visual Arts, UNISA, Cape Town based.

Presenting short courses and art retreats in personal capacity.

PAPER DELIVERED AT CONFERENCE

Interdisciplinary Conference hosted by Department of English Studies, UNISA, with title Memory: impressions, expressions, reflections, March 2012. Paper title: How to remember a home: tracing comparative lines in the artworks of Rachel Whiteread, Cornelia Parker and Emma Willemse.


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