Janet Botes

Vaal University of Technology
B. Tech Graphic Design (Cum Laude) 2006
My work is primarily inspired by a reverence for plants, ecology and our integrated nature as part of the planet. This love is expressed in landscape art, and as depictions of objects and living creatures found in the landscape - sometimes representational, while other times abstract or conceptual. I enjoy working in a variety of different techniques, sizes and mediums - using different approaches to achieve textures, forms and compositions that expresses some part of essence of the natural landscape that I experience or find myself in.

A lot of my work and projects explores the landscape in its different forms and contexts – predominantly focusing on human interaction or relationship with it, with metamorphosis and a focus on us as an organism a dominant theme in my recent work. Journeys are also an underlying theme in my work, due to my own travels through landscapes (and thus my own personal relationship with the sites I visit), and this theme is evident in my Nuances series – a series of limited edition landscape prints, printed on Somerset Velvet or Hahnemuhle.

Some disciplines that I employ in my work include Land Art, Drawing, Mixed Media Painting, Photography, Assemblage, and Digital Art or New Media. The unpredictability of some materials are integral to my process - I work very intuitively, allowing an artwork to take shape as it needs to. 'Mistakes' are often reworked and transformed into something unplanned or unexpected. Nothing gets wasted. My art is seated in a deep belief that we need to live in harmony with our earth, creating sustainable systems and methods of living and creating - this includes taking responsibility for the waste created from the creation of my art.

“My art is grounded on the belief in one universal energy which runs though everything, from insect to man, from man to spectre, from spectre to plant, from plant to galaxy.” – Ana Mendieta, from an artist’s statement in the early 1980s
Attaining a BTech in Graphic Design from the Vaal University of Technology (cum laude) in 2006, Janet has been able to merge design, photography and fine art techniques in her work in pursuit of an individual or unique style. She has facilitated as well as attended several workshops as part of her work. Some of the workshops attended include an introductory workshop in Art Therapy, a concept development workshop by Kai Lossgott, and a Professional Arts Practice workshop presented by Art Source and Art Space Gallery.

Since 2007 she participated in workshops in concept development, art therapy, performance art and professional art practise. These workshops served further her knowledge and enrich her art practice, and since 2010 she has facilitated workshops in different settings and capacities to share her knowledge and help others delve into their own inherent creativity.

Since 2013 Janet has been involved with Site_Specific, a volunteer-run organisation that aims to develop and support site-specific and land art projects in South Africa. In August 2015 she travelled to South Korea as part of the Global Nomadic Art Project; and is currently assisting in the coordination of the South African leg of this international project, "Stories of Rain".

Janet's second solo exhibition 'ORGANISM' opened on 7 April 2016 in our gallery at 61 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.


  • 2016 | ORGANISM, StateoftheART GAllery, Cape Town
  • 2014 | WILD & STILL: expressions of the landscape, StateoftheART Gallery, Cape Town


  • 2016 | OPENLab2016, as part of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD), an initiative of the Vrystaat Arts Festival and University of the Free State. Included a weeklong residency at MAP (Modern Art Projects) in Richmond. 
  • 2015 | Global Nomadic Art Project Korea II. Presented by Yatoo-i, South Korea.
  • 2015 | Thupelo workshop, Ruth Prowse School of Art, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa 
  • 2011 | Koekenaap regional artists workshop. Presented by Wesland Art Society and the Department of Cultural Affairs, Koekenaap, Matzikama District, South Africa


- Pricewaterhouse Coopers
- PPS Investments
- OPTIMA Training
- Heyns & Partners Inc


  • 2016 | ORGANISM with OutoftheCUBE at Turbine Art Fair, 14-17 July 2016, Johannesburg.
  • 2015 | It’s in my Nature… Exhibition by Janet Botes & Jaco Coetzee. Liebrecht Gallery, Somerset West 
  • 2015 | Remembrance of Nature: 30 Nature Artists in the World, Geumgang Nature Art Center, Gongju, S.Korea 
  • 2015 | The Snake Eagle Thinking Path Launch exhibition. Matjiesfontein, Karoo, South Africa 
  • 2014 | The industrial Karoo: FEAR & LOSS, curated by Katie Barnard du Toit. Oliewenhuis Art Museum,"The Reservoir", Bloemfontein. 
  • 2013 | Pieces & Puzzles: Compositions of human expression inspired by nature. Lovell Gallery, Woodstock
  • 2013 | Encounters Annual Wildlife exhibition at the Cape Gallery, Cape Town 
  • 2013 | Hiernamaals – Hereafter, Slee Gallery, Stellenbosch 
  • 2012 | Walk This Earth Alone, Gallery @ Grande Provence, Franschhoek, Western Cape. 
  • 2012 | HumanEarth III: First Material, US Gallery, University of Stellenbosch’s Woordfees,Western Cape 
  • 2011 | Scrapes & Scapes, Exhibition by Janet Botes & Mark Shaun Hopkins. Bodutu Gallery, Vanderbijlpark 
  • 2011 | HumanEarth: conversation, Wessel Snyman Creative, Cape Town. Curated by Nastasha Daniels 
  • 2010 | VAN-Guard Winelands Group Exhibition, Durbanville Hills, Western Cape. Curated and organized by VANSA.
  • 2009 | AVA members Exhibition, Association of Visual Arts, Cape Town 
  • 2009 | Sangisa Sangisa, exhibition & group performance, VANSA Spin Space, Cape Town 
  • 2008 | Unified: Unpretty, Unclean, Underneath, Unnatural. Eat Your Words Artspace, Vereeniging 
What is your favourite film of all time?!
Into the Wild, 2007

What music are you currently listening to and why?

VAST, the music is incredible, it sets me such an ideal mood for doing anything - whether it be creating art, going to a meeting, doing yoga, or catching up with a friend.

Which living artists do you most admire and why?
Strijdom van der Merwe and Andy Goldworthy for their Land Art, in which they work extensively in landscapes and use natural materials to create transient work. I also admire Berni Searle, Lien Botha, Christiaan Diedericks, Willem Boshoff and Wim Botha - all for the visual intricacies in their work as well as their interaction and apt interpretation of their mediums and concepts, whether it be performative (Searle), photographic (Lien Botha), drawing-based (Diedericks), language-focused (Boshoff) or responding to religious practices (Wim Botha).
Which deceased artist do you most admire and why?
Joseph Buyes for his ground-breaking avant garde work which relied on interaction and public participation. Also Walter Battiss for his incredible graphic artworks and Fook Island

Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?
I've seen a lot of great exhibitions, but one that stays with me is Wessel Snyman's exhibition "The Birds" at the AVA in 2009 has had a great impact on me. Firstly, because I was so impressed by his installation of folded bank-slip birds, I wrote a review of his art. This made him approach me to write a review about his following exhibition, and eventually I worked in his gallery for a month while he went to Australia!

What/ who inspired you to be an artist?
I was lucky to have great art teachers at school, Lientjie Barnard and Thea Luus, who made Art History interesting and inspiring. They exposed me to the work of European, American as well as South African artists that inspired me and fed my passion for art that started from a very early age. But without the amazing support and encouragement that I have always received from my parents, I would not be who and where I am now.

Can you tell us about where you make your art and what if any, the significance of this location has?

I love working in the landscape, whether I'm drawing/painting my immediate surroundings or working with the actual materials and objects in the landscape. There is a sense of closeness, reality and also peace when working in nature. That closeness to the creation, and involvement in the process often extends to my work in the studio, as I aim to work with natural materials as much as possible.

What do you like most about being an artist?
The license to be 'weird' and the flexibility of my work time.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Being an artist for the Global Nomadic Art Project: South Korea II, where we traveled through the South Korean landscape for 3 weeks creating land art before finally creating an artwork inspired by the experience(s).
What are your plans for the coming year?

I'm a team member for Stories of Rain, the South African leg of the Global Nomadic Art Project and we'll be travelling throughout the country with international artists as guests, and conclude with an exhibition that opens 6 October at the AVA Gallery.  


View the video that forms part of the body of work ORGANISM