Juanita  Oosthuizen

Juanita Oosthuizen

South Africa | 7 artworks for sale

“To be creative – not only in artistic expression, but also in daily life – this has always been my passion”.

A chance encounter many years ago in the Tate Modern in London triggered my current choice of artistic medium. That day, I came across a tiny artwork in a vast, empty hall with a tiny figure as subject. It immediately appealed to my love of delicate minimalism.

Today, I am inspired to come up with creative ways to incorporate miniature figurines into works of art – placing them in a carefully planned scenario fashioned from board and paper. This is mounted in a box frame to create a 3D environment. I work mostly in black, white and grey, sometimes introducing a smattering of colour to create an element of surprise. When I compose a piece, I find myself instinctively drawn to depict something surreal, wistful, pensive and sometimes playful.

At times, I use old photographs as a backdrop to the figurines, to create an element of nostalgia and tender memory. Clients have also on occasion, asked me to create a piece that depicts a fond memory from their own past.

Recently I have introduced paper weaving as another artistic medium. I enjoy the process of weaving and love the texture of the final image. The process is challenging not to disturb and distort the picture - but so that it is still recognisable. The new woven image is unique – “broken but healed”.

My work varies from playful to serious and emotional, with the subject matter telling a story through the body language or interaction of the figurines. I create a space for the spectator to make his or her own interpretation. I find inspiration everywhere – in nature, in daily life, in the city, in books on illustration, photography and design. I am blessed with an abundance of energy and an overactive imagination. Images constantly tumble into consciousness, and the days, weeks and months often feel simply too short for all I still wish to accomplish.

Juanita Oosthuizen 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, and she regularly exhibited new designs and products with Design Indaba. Since 2013 she has been working as a professional artist under the name ‘J by Juanita’ and creating minimalist works, capturing time and its experience.

List of Exhibitions:
Aug 2015 - Young Blood Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
June 2016 - Interaction, Rust & Vrede Gallery, Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa
Dec 2016 - Is Art Gallery, Franschhoek, South Africa
March 2017 - South African Movies, Woordfees Exhibition, Stellenbosch, South Africa
April 2017 - Botega Gallery, Oudtshoorn, South Africa
June 2017 - Something Red, Young Blood Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
February 2018 - Interaction/Interaksie, Solo exhibition at Slee Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
November 2018 - Eye of the Beholder, Solo exhibition at Trent Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa
December 2018 - Small is Great, Group show at Jadite Galleries, New York, USA
March 2019 - Denke/Thoughts with Johan Steyn at Slee Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
February 2020 - Knoop/Knot Group Exhibition curated by Louis Janse Van Vuuren, Stellenbosch, South Africa.

December 2016 - Artist Residency at the Zingler Foundation, Elba, Italy.

2015 - Joint Winner Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award
2018 - Winner Tollman Bouchard Finlayson Art Award
2018 - Included in the FNB Joburg Art Fair Top 20 contemporary African artists.