On the 13th of May at the
The Kingsmead Book Fair ‘17


10h45 – 11h30


Willem Boshoff was born in 1951 and grew up in Vanderbijlpark, a town on the the Vaal River, 75 kilometre south of Johannesburg in the Gauteng province of South Africa. His father, Martiens, was a trained carpenter and Boshoff grew up with a love for wood and respect for technical expertise.

Currently Boshoff is based at his home and studio in Johannesburg. Emma and Willem, his two younger children, are in school in Aberystwyth. His two older children live in Johannesburg, where Karen works as a graphic designer and Martin as an industrial designer.

Under Henrie Pretorius, an inspired teacher at high school, he decided to become a sculptor when he was fifteen years old. His decision did not meet the approval of the conservative elements in his old school and he was only allowed to formally study art if he simultaneously followed a teaching course. This proved to be valuable because he delighted in subjects of psychological and philosophical emphasis.

Willem Boshoff’s academic career spans a period of more than twenty years and he is a former head of the Department of Fine Art of the Technikon Witwatersrand (now University of Johannesburg). His qualifications include an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg. He is a renowned teacher and although he has been a full-time practicing artist in South Africa and internationally since 1996, he still retains strong ties with many academic institutions. He still regularly acts as external examiner in the fine art departments/faculties of, amongst others, the University of Stellenbosch, the University of Cape Town, the University of Pretoria and Rhodes University in Grahamstown.

Boshoff decided not to exhibit his artwork in a public gallery until he was thirty years old and had his first exhibition at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 1981. His major works include KYKAFRIKAANS (1980), an anthology of concrete poetry, the Blind Alphabet Project (1995), Writing in the Sand (2001) and Garden of Words (a project in progress since 1982). His work has been shown extensively in South Africa and internationally, notably at the Johannesburg Biennale; São Paulo Biennale; Venice Biennale; Havana Biennale; the Museum for African Art at the Smithsonian, Washington; the Triennale für Kleinplastik in Stuttgart (where he was awarded the Ludwig Giess Prize); Museo Nacional, Centro de Arte, Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam; White Box Gallery, New York; MUseum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen; Galerie Asbæk in Copenhagen, Sonsbeek Internationaal, Arnhem, Netherlands and Art Unlimited at the Basel Art Fair. He won a Golden Loerie award in cooperation with Ogilvie International for his artwork Abamfusa Lawula (1997).

Boshoff has delivered guest lectures on the interaction of the visual and audio arts at various universities and he has published numerous essays and articles. He derives pleasure in a collection of avant-garde music, Gregorian chant and ethnic music. He spends much of his time compiling dictionaries and his first, A Dictionary of Colour was written in 1977. These dictionaries often form the basis for his artworks. Some are A Dictionary of Perplexing English, Beyond the Epiglottis, What Every Druid Should Know, Dictionary of Manias and Phobias, the Dictionary of Morphology, the Dictionary of–ologies and –isms, A Dictionary of Beasts and Demons, as well as the Dictionary of Winds, and the Dictionary of Obscure Financial Terms. He also visits all major gardens in the world to do research for his Garden of Words and Big Druid projects.

Willem Boshoff’s art career can be followed in Ivan Vladislavic’s biographyWillem Boshoff (Taxi-011. Johannesburg: David Krut Publishing, 2005) and Warren Siebrits’s Willem Boshoff: word forms and language shapes: 1975 – 2007 (Exhibition Catalogue, Standard Bank Gallery, Johannesburg 2007). Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, 2007. To learn more about Willem Boshoff consult the website or launch a “Google” search for him on the internet


12h00 – 12h45

Penny Siopis is a South African artist who lives in Cape Town. She was born in 1953 in Vryburg in the Northern Cape, a little town to which her Greek parents had moved after inheriting a bakery from her maternal grandfather. Siopis studied Fine Arts at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, completing her master’s degree in 1976, after which she pursued postgraduate studies at Portsmouth Polytechnic in the United Kingdom. She taught Fine Arts at the Technikon Natal in Durban from 1980 to 1983. In 1984 she took up a lectureship at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. During this time she was also visiting research fellow at the University of Leeds (1992-3) and visiting Professor in Fine Arts at Umeå University in Sweden (2000) as part of an interinstitutional exchange. She is currently Honorary Professor at Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.

Siopis is the recipient of many awards, including a British Council Scholarship, the Atelier Award for a residency at theCité Internationale des Arts in Paris, the Alexander S. Onassis fellowship for research in Greece, and residencies at Delfina and the Gasworks in London, Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, the Tropen Museum in Amsterdam and theAcademy of Fine Arts in Athens and Delphi.

Penny Siopis receives Arts and Culture Trust lifetime achiever award for Visual Art.

A Sophiatown theme and exceptional entertainment set the tone at Sun International’s The Maslow Hotel last night, when ACT named their Award winners.

At the core of the Awards, is the announcement of Lifetime Achievement recipients who have each had a lifelong commitment to the arts, and this year, six deserving luminaries were recognised.

The recipients are nominated by the ACT Board of Trustees and selected by current and previous ACT Trustees. Categories include: Theatre, Music, Visual Art, Literature, Arts Advocacy and Dance.

This year, ACT honoured Pieter-Dirk Uys for Theatre, Johnny Clegg for Music, Penny Siopis for Visual Art, Dr. Mongane Wally Serote for Literature, Albie Sachs for Arts Advocacy and Johaar Mosaval for Dance.

“Our list of South African icons would not be complete without entering the names of these remarkable individuals alongside the likes of Miriam Makeba, Nadine Gordimer and Dr. John Kani, to mention a few,” says ACT CEO, Pieter Jacobs. “Their exemplary careers have enriched the arts and culture industry significantly, leaving a legacy that inspires young artists, such as the ImpACT Award recipients, to strive to reach a high level of excellence in their chosen fields.”


13h45 – 14h30


” in most Artworks, the work can reside in private custody, but the Art remains everyone’s treasure.”

Born in Brussels Pierre moved to South Africa after completing his studies. He has been with GLH Architects for 31years and withdrew from the position of Senior Partner after a health accident and took up his new role as Honorary Chairman. In this way he is able to participate in the conceptual work of most projects while taking care of the existing professional relationships he created with major corporate clients. GLH Architects has been involved in major corporate and residential projects in the main hubs of Johannesburg.

Since an early age, Pierre has been passionate about art. He has been the first individual from the continent to join the international friends of documenta. Similarly, he has recently joined the acquisition committee of Photography department of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and has been invited to join the friends of the Whitechapel Gallery in London.


15h00 – 15h45


Mary Sibande (born 1982) is a South African artist who lives and works in Johannesburg. Her work explores themes of gender, class, and race, through the sculptural representation of her alter ego, Sophie, who is dressed in altered domestic worker uniforms. This work is often seen as autobiographical and draws from the history of four generations of women in her family. Her work has been exhibited in the South African pavilion at the 2010 Venice Biennale, and her work “Long Live the Dead Queen” was found in murals all over the city of Johannesburg in 2010. In 2013 Sibande received the Standard Bank Young Artist Award and her work “The Purple Shall Govern” toured South Africa.

Sibande was born in post-apartheid South Africa, from a long line of domestic workers. She earned a National Diploma in Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand Technical College in 2004 and a Fine Art B-Tech degree from the University of Johannesburg in 2007.

Sibande’s painting and sculpture uses the human form to explore the construction of identity in a postcolonial South African context, but also attempts to critique stereotypical depictions of women, particularly black women.

The body, for Sibande, and particularly the skin, and clothing is the site where history is contested and where fantasies play out. Centrally, she looks at the generational disempowerment of black women and in this sense her work is informed by postcolonial theory. In her work, the domestic setting acts as a stage where historical psycho-dramas play out.

Sibande’s work also highlights how privileged ideals of beauty and femininity aspired to by black women discipline their body through rituals of imitation and reproduction. She inverts the social power indexed by pseudo-Victorian costumes by reconfiguring it as a domestic worker’s “uniform” problematizing the colonial relationship between “slave” and “master” in a post-apartheid context. The textiles used to produce uniforms for domestic workers is strongly associated with domestic spaces in South Africa, and by applying it to Victorian dress she attempts to make a comment about history of servitude as it relates to the present in terms of domestic relationships.


PLEASE NOTE: Once you have purchased a ticket to the fair ALL the SAFFCA Art Talks are FREE for anyone at the fair.

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