Andries J. Botha /   Andries Johannes Botha

South Africa 1952

Installation, Sculpture

Andries J. Botha
Andries Johannes Botha
South Africa
April 25, 2016

Andries J. Botha explores the idea of coexistence of men and nature and men and establishment. His life and his artistic career are centred around the idea that there must be a balance between giving and taking. What we take from nature must match the amount we can give back. Since the idea of sustainability is his theme, this artist, throughout his fruitful career, is using recycling materials and raw supplies, such as driftwood and timber. In his You Can Buy My Heart and My Soul installation he exhibited a collection of elephants, a whole family. For Botha, an elephant is a symbol, a precious living mammal and a constant reminded that we have to do all that is in our power to protect the animals and wilderness on our planet.

Andries J. Botha - You can buy my heart and my soul, photo credits International Social Science Council
Andries J. Botha – You can buy my heart and my soul, photo credits International Social Science Council

Civil Rights Activism

The artist started his long career not long after he graduated from the University of Natal in the 70’s. For his stunning work in a field of visual art, he won many awards, some of them are Volkskas Atelier Merit Award, Cape Town Triennial Merit, and National Vita Art Award. Andries J. Botha is passionate human rights activist and he uses his art to express the opinion on post-apartheid politics in South Africa. In 1999, he founded Create Africa South centre for supporting and sharing creativity. Just 5 years prior he organized a training course programme for women in which the participants were encouraged to learn, work, make, and gain new creative skills. His art deeply reflects his activism.

The sculptures are reflections on colonialism, civil rights, and cultural stereotypes

Andries J. Botha - You can buy my heart and my soul, photo credits Pieterbie
Andries J. Botha – You can buy my heart and my soul, photo credits Pieterbie

Elephant in the Room

Botha openly speaks up about the issues of education and race in South Africa. He is not afraid to talk about what is obvious but still qualified as unpleasant. When he made elephant sculptures he wanted to use only recycled materials, to prove that art should also play a part of man’s struggle to achieve a perfect balance in living in accordance with nature’s laws. There is no need to destroy more in order to create something. Elephants were made out of driftwood and wooden pallets that were nailed to metal skeletons. In Afrikan mythology, an elephant is an incarnation of the soul of the murdered God. The sculptures are reflections on colonialism, civil rights, and cultural stereotypes. The beauty of wilderness should not be contained, its power is in its freedom.

Botha makes art inpired by various political and anthropological topics

Andries J. Botha - What is a Home Without Father, 1994
Andries J. Botha – What is a Home Without Father, 1994

Embracing the Social Activism

In his earlier work, he often took turns on various political and anthropological topics. What is a home? series covers subjects such as male identity and the struggle to keep up with the stereotypical expectations of a typical man. When the political turmoil started, the collective male identity lost its strong defined norms and it left an African man with a feeling of loneliness and confusion. The artist used metal, wood and various robust blue collar materials to express his opinion through symbolic imagery. Botha continues to embrace the social activism in his rich creative world of sculptures and installation. It is truly inspiring to find such a strong feeling of justice in such well-made artwork.

The artist is represented by Galerie Galea.

Andries J. Botha lives and works in Durban, South Africa.

All images used for illustrative purpose only © Andries J. Botha

Featured image: Andries J. Botha – You can buy my heart and my soul (detail), photo credits 4rtgallery

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014100 Centenary ExhibitionEverard Read Gallery, South AfricaGroup
2012The Rainbow NationMuseum Beelden aan Zee, Hague, NetherlandsGroup
2011(IN)SOMNIUM)Circa on Jellicoe, Rosebank, Johannesburg, South AfricaSolo
2011The HorseEverard Reed Gallery, JohannesburgGroup
20112011 Incheon Women Artists BiennaleSouth KoreaGroup
2010Woordfees ArtistStellenbosch, South AfricaSolo
2010North American tour of Nomkhubulwane (elephant sculpture)Chicago, Fayetteville, Bozeman, El Paso, Detroit, USASolo
2010Tour of Nomkhubulwane (elephant sculpture)Juarez and Cuernavaca,MexicoSolo
2009ExhibitionLa Papalote Museum, Mexico City, MexicoGroup
2009Wild9 – 9th World Wilderness CongressMerida, MexicoGroup
2009Animal-AnimaProvence, FranceGroup
2009ExhibitionSouth Gallery, Cape Town, South AfricaGroup
2009ExhibitionKZNSA Gallery, Durban South AfricaGroup
2009ExhibitionStrydom Gallery, George, South AfricaGroup
2009Beauty and PleasureStenersen Museum, Oslo, NorwayGroup
2008Faculty ExhibitionKZNSA Gallery, Durban, South AfricaGroup
2008Workshop - ExhibitionSamata Lok Santhan, Gwalior, IndiaGroup
2008TravesiaLas Palmas de Gran CanariaGroup
2008l’Homme est un Mystere 3St. Brieuc, Cotes d’Armor, FranceGroup
2007You can buy my heart and my soul (from 2007 to 2009)Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, BelgiumSolo
2007You can buy my heart and my soulAntwerp, Belgium.Group
2006Beaufort, Sculpture TriennaleDe Panne and Ostend, BelgiumGroup
2005Amazwi AbesifazaneWilliam Benton Gallery, University of Connecticut, USAGroup
2004Africa RemixMuseum Kunst Palast, D?sseldorf, GermanyGroup
2004Amazwi AbesifazaneBetty Rymer Gallery, School of the ArtGroup
2004ExhibitionInstitute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USAGroup
2004Amazwi AbesifazaneCulturgest, Lisbon, PortugalGroup
2003Attese: Biennale of Ceramics in Contemporary ArtAlbisola, ItalyGroup
2003Amazwi AbesifazaneAfrica Studie Sentrum, Leiden, The NetherlandsGroup
2003Amazwi AbesifazaneImagine IC, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsGroup
2002Vidarte 2002Mexico City, MexicoGroup
2002Global PrioritiesNew York, USAGroup
2002Outpost IIUS Art Gallery, Stellenbosch, South AfricaGroup
2002Amazwi AbesifazanePrince Claus Fund, The Hague, The Netherlands,Group
2001Freehouse ProjectRotterdam, NetherlandsGroup
2001Nature, Utopia and Realities: OrsorioGrand CanariasGroup
2001Memorias: SantanderSpainGroup
2001Amazwi Abesifazane, World Conference Against RacismSouth AfricaGroup
2001Amazwi AbesifazaneDurban Art Gallery, South AfricaGroup
2000Area 2000Reykjavik Art Museum, IcelandGroup
2000L’Afrique a JourLille, FranceGroup
2000ExhibitionBonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, HollandGroup
2000Dakart 2000 BiennaleSenegal, AfricaGroup
2000Amazwi Abesifazane – Voices of WomenAfrican Art Center, South AfricaGroup
1999ExhibitionGalerie Paul Andriesse, AmsterdamGroup
1998KasselkunstverreinKassel, GermanyGroup
1998Kulturtogbet SolvbergetStavanger, NorwayGroup
1998Four SeasonsNational Architectural Institute, RotterdamGroup
1997Johannesburg BiennaleSouth AfricaGroup
1997Samtidskunst: Fra Sor AfrikaOslo, NorwayGroup
1996The Other Journey: Africa and the DiasporaKunsthalle Krems, ViennaGroup
1996Containers Across the OceanCopenhagenGroup
1996ExhibitionCris Fertiles Unesco, AbidjanGroup
1995ExhibitionCris Fertiles Unesco, CotonouGroup
1995Transitions: Bath FestivalUnited KingdomGroup
1994South African Contemporary ArtParis, FranceGroup
1994Southern CrossStedelijke Museum, Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
1993Exhibition at Venice BiennaleItalyGroup