Mesmerized by a display by a Brazilian artist in London’s Tate Modern gallery, of a sole, minute male figure sweeping an enormous amount of snow …. This was artist, Juanita Oosthuizen’s shape shifting moment.
Juanita was born in Calvinia and grew up in the Cape platteland. From an early age she experimented creatively with paper, cloth and plastic – questioning, directing, observing – never settling for that which she found aesthetically displeasing. In the 1990s she joined a corporate gifts company and was responsible for their packaging design. During this time, and after a visit to Europe, she discovered sheet polypropylene and used it successfully in packaging. In 1998 she started her own company – Pepper Plum Designs – manufacturing and designing for the corporate and retail markets using mainly PVC and sheet polypropylene. Her designs included stationery and household items.
“I create a space for the spectator to make his or her own interpretation.” This indeed is true, with each work depicting our place in the surrounding world. Human figures interact with one another. Her attention to detail is fascinating. A face, the size of a pin head, conveys as much an expression as if one is to look into a mirror. The sense of scale is indeed impressive with each handmade frame adding perspective. Juanita’s minimalist works of art capture time and its experience, ultimately portraying any or all of us.
Winner – Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Tondo Art Award 2018
Joint Winner Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award, 2015.