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Research Students 2014

Gera de Villiers received her Bachelor’s of Art in Art History at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky and her Master’s of Art in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. in conjunction with Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, England. She has been an intern at several art institutions including Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington, Kentucky, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, Ghostprint Gallery and Wilton House Museum both in Richmond, Virginia, and is currently interning at the South African National Gallery. At Wilton House she was also afforded the opportunity to be a Guest Head Curator for and exhibition entitled “Admiring the Feathered Race: John James Audubon’s Birds of America.” During the course of her programme at the CCA, she intends on exploring the space, place, and identity of the house museum as a genre.

Augustine Zukisa Madyibi was born in 03 August 1982 in Mthatha and educated at the University of Pretoria and Walter Sisulu University of Technology. As a visual artist, he has participated in several group exhibitions both nationally and internationally and was an artist in residence at the Ann Bryant Art Gallery, East London (2010) and De Beers Art Gallery at Fort Hare University, Alice (2009). In 2013, he curated Isingqisethu, a cultural festival at the Wild Coast Museum in Port St Johns. During the course of his programme at the CCA, he intends on exploring the representation of an under-represented art history at the South African Art Gallery.

Tasneem Rossouw was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and educated at the University of Cape Town. She is concerned with semiotics: how phenomena carry meaning through their form, as well as the contexts in which they occur. Furthermore, she is concerned with applying this understanding by training the ability to consciously shape meaning-experiences in others, with attendant critical practice.

Being a graduate of the UCT Theatre and Performance programme, her primary mediums of research expression have formally been theatre and performance art. During the course of her programme at the CCA, she intends on further exploring her core research narrative through curatorial practice.

Thobeka Phenduliwe Sibisi was born in Vryheid in 1991 and educated at the Durban University of Technology. In 2013, she worked as an intern at Art For Humanity, assisting with the collections, projects and workshops.

During the course of her programme at the CCA, she intends on exploring how the sensation of holistic lighting within a museum/gallery space affects one’s perception of what is given to view.

Bianca Packham was born in 1986 in Los Angeles, California. She moved to Cape Town with her family in 1994 and graduated with a BA in Film and Media Studies from the University of Cape Town in 2007. After working locally as a writer and graphic designer, in 2013 she decided to pursue a new, more fulfilling outlet for her writing skills. Currently enrolled in the Honours in Curatorship Programme, Bianca is interested in the curatorial use of fiction and the possibility of interweaving research and imagination into new narratives for museums. With a special interest in house museums, her research project aims to tell a new story in one of Cape Town’s historic homes – using archive, object study and creative writing as her curatorial tools. Bianca is also a newly-appointed council member of the Friends of the Iziko South African National Gallery and hopes to draw upon her media experience in order to elevate the activities of the friends.

Lindelwa Pepu was born in Kwazulu Natal in Port Shepstone and educated at the University of Zululand. She is concerned with Black African art history and its background.

Jessica Basiak was born in 1991 in Cape Town. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Cape Town in 2013 and graduated with a Bachelors degree in Chemistry. She then decided to make a radical change and pursue her love for art by enrolling for the Honours in Curatorship Programme offered by The Michaelis School of Fine Art. Combining these two interests, her focus is on conservation and restoration. Utilising analytical chemistry, she intends to explore the science behind painting through innovative technologies such as x-ray machines and micro-spectroscopic analysis. Through the use of these tools, she will investigate the composition of paintings and their aging processes on a molecular level, literally ‘peeling back’ the layers of pigment to investigate notions of how art can be viewed.

Anja de Klerk was born in Walvis Bay in 1984 and received a BA in Visual Arts (Fine Art) cum laude from the University of Stellenbosch in 2008. She works as an artist, ceramicist and exhibition maker and is concerned with material, object, art-anthropological and contemporary art studies. Anja has been an Africalia intern at Blank Projects, has taught studio practice at the University of Stellenbosch, is the owner of Curious Ceramics and is involved with Atlantic House studios in Cape Town. She also is an alumnus of the first Curatorial Intensive hosted by the Independent Curators International in New York in 2010.

During the course of her programme at the CCA she intends on exploring and exhibiting the work of three South African women artists – Bridget Baker, Jeanne Hoffman and Kathryn Smith – from a material studies perspective.

Through using my personal history and conflicts as the departure points for art making I am very aware of the relies from trauma it can bring. For me art making provides a form of healing. My search to uncover those places where my wounds lie, is often guided by found objects, which act as stepping stones towards some unresolved issue, which I then can look at, understand and mend. By being aware of where my wounds lie, I can honour, interact and make visible those difficult places inside me…by stitching them down. It is all part of trying to make sense of my own life, my emigration, my loss, the resulting conflicting duality and how I can live with that.

Is It Possible To Find Beauty In Decay?

Rot, corrosion, erosion, collapse: they are all forms of decay and natural processes of destruction or breaking down. However, a dynamic balance exists between destruction and creation, as the transformative potential of each is intrinsically linked to the other. Albeit on different time scales, everything in the world including human beings is in a constant state of transformation. The continuum of change can be subtle or dramatic, but it is ubiquitous and ongoing. In my studio practice, I investigate notions of trace and transience as I use the corrosive properties of iron to document the transformation of materials by rusting on canvas.

Buhlebezwe holds a BAFA (Honours) from the University of the Witwatersrand (2012) and is currently studying towards an MFA at the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art.

Project: Performance

Title: The exploration of the body as a trace in ritual and performance.

In my PhD project,  I challenge myself  to  revivify a somewhat  forlorn and forgotten colonial- era object collection based in the UCT Manuscripts and Archives Department via a diverse range of creative and curatorial strategies. Most of these interventions are in some way marked by my own presence in the archive as a recently visually impaired researcher/ artist, seeking to orientate myself somatically and sensorily now that my ability to engage with material visually is compromised.