• Adele van Heerden

    Adele van Heerden
    • Artist Statement
      • Van Heerden describes her work as a direct, personal response to the particular social, historical and political conditions she is present in. "Living in a post-colonial context," she comments," I recognise omniscient spectres of the past haunting the present. In my multi-layered, detailed ink drawings I make subtle commentary on themes related to the relevance of the commemoration of war heroes in a post-colonial landscape. Colourful images of flowers, toy soldiers and horses are imposed and juxtaposed with monuments. With this subject matter, my work launches a confrontation with the past; it interrogates the presence of commemorative monuments and encourages the viewer to question their understanding of them."
    • Biography
      • N Dip. Fine Art (Ruth Prowse School Of Art)
        BA Degree in History and Politics (University of South Africa)
        Honours Degree in Curatorship (UCT, Cape Town)

        Adele van Heerden is an artist and curator living and working in Cape Town, South Africa. After graduating in Fine Arts at the Ruth Prowse School of Art in 2010, Van Heerden continued her studies at the University of South Africa, where she obtained a BA in History and Politics. In 2015, she graduated from the University of Cape Town with an Honours Degree in Curatorship.

        Van Heerden recently opened a successful solo exhibition, "In Memoriam", at the Association for Visual Arts (AVA Gallery) in Cape Town. Her work has been widely exhibited in group shows, at galleries such as Salon 91, the Gallery at Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate, 99 Loop, DF Contemporary, Rust-en-Vrede and Art.b. Other professional experience artistic experience includes a two year stint as gallery manager at the South African Print Gallery as well as internships at the Spier Arts Trust (Yellowwoods Art Consultancy) and the University of Cape Town's Michaelis Galleries. She regularly engages in curatorial projects on a freelance basis.

    • Interview
      • Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
        My two favorite South African artists are Judith Mason and Diane Victor. I really admire the technical skill both artists possess, which they often combine with very interesting conceptual ideas.
        I also find inspiration from the people I work most closely with- my Studio mates at Studio 41. I find very encouraging and inspiring. I find myself learning more and more from them each day.

        Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
        That’s a tough one. I really admire Ruth Prowse and Erik Laubscher. I went to the art school which came into existence when Ruth Prowse bequeathed all her earthly assets to assist in the establishment of a tertiary education facility, which Erik Laubscher was responsible for seeing through and eventually became the director of – The Ruth Prowse School of Art.

        Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?
        I really enjoyed the British Museum in London. Seeing the Rosetta Stone and other historical artifacts and sculptures was a very special experience for me – even though it wasn’t an art exhibition I did consider the things I saw to be art objects in themselves. 

        Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
        My work is inspired my experience of culture and our heritage. For my graduate body of work I explored the mythological and mystical tendencies of the Afrikaans culture, which then led me into studying History and Politics after graduating in Fine Art. Memory plays an important role in my work. I also really love nature and wildlife, and spending time in nature always breathes new life into my work.

        Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
        Good music and good coffee, that’s the key!

        What do you like most about being an artist?
        I enjoy working on my own schedule – not having to conform to the traditional nine to five. I also find that being an artist enables me to constantly meet new people, which I really enjoy.

        How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?
        If I experience a block I try to occupy myself with something else, such as reading or going out for a walk with my dogs. Bouncing ideas off my contemporaries also helps a lot when I’m experiencing a block.

        What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
        The mere decision to pursue a career in the arts and the ability to stick with it is for me a great achievement in itself. I used to be an extremely shy person, but when decided to study art I felt empowered and confident as a person.

        Do you feel that you want to make a difference to the world or in people's lives? If yes, how?
        Yes – I want to provoke thought and discussion in my audience, but I also want to bring beauty into their lives with my artwork – the balance between conceptual and artistic skill is very important to maintain in this regard.

        What are your plans for the coming year?
        My plan for the year is to work consistently and explore some new avenues in my art I’ve recently discovered.

    • Video