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Alta Botha


Launch 2021

between 2020-2021


Artist statement

Between the known – the not-yet-known and the almost forgotten – exists a poetic tension. As artist I work in and between these ever shifting domains of tension as it relates to place - as the titles of the works suggest. Working with the primary media of paper and charcoal, I erode the materiality of the paper, perforating the surface in anticipation of a mark and image to emerge. The tactile materiality of the surface incrementally reveals itself, offering nuances in texture, tonality, and depth of both paper and charcoal. The intimate process of interaction with these materials, becomes one of uncertainty and tension. Through processes of separation, fragmentation and layering, I begin to reimagine the relationship between place and memory in all its porousness and fragility.



Alta Botha (b. 1955) is a Cape Town-based independent artist who exhibits locally and internationally. She holds a B degree in Visual Arts (awarded Visual Arts Prize, Unisa, 2005) and an MA in Fine Arts (with distinction, Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, 2014). Since 2012 Botha explores the possibilities of contemporary drawing employing process driven methodologies. Using paper and found and activated charcoal as primary media, she works towards transforming the materiality of substances and surfaces through reductive and ‘abusive’ procedures. Dematerialising actions of erosion and perforation – the scraping and sanding of paper, and the burning of wood to charcoal – are counterbalanced by processes of retrieval and reconstruction, like the sewing together and dressing of torn surfaces. Her acts of reparation recall an earlier career in nursing – her hand-stitching, as a mark and a conveyor of meaning, is linked to care. Botha considers drawing as a complex filtering between inner and outer processes – between deep structures of thought and their coming into being as surface structure. The incremental unfolding between processes of conscious and unconscious awareness is central to the transformations she works towards.

Solo exhibitions include fore/after (2017), fragile equilibriums (2014), Odd objects (2008) and Angle of repose (2006).




2020 – Cape Town (South Africa) – Home Is Where The Art Is (group)

2019 – Bloemfontein (South Africa) – dwell in possibility (group)

2019 – Cape Town (South Africa) – nano 1.3 (group)

2019 – Cape Town (South Africa) – Summer exhibition (group)

2018 – Oudtshoorn (South Africa) – Vuurdans (group)

2018 – Knysna (South Africa) – Vuurdans (group)

2018 – Franschhoek (South Africa) – Yarn (group)

2017 – Hermanus (South Africa) – fore/after

2017 – Hermanus (South Africa) – FynArts Festival (group)

2016 – Brooklyn (New York) – Imago Mundi (group)

2016 – Hermanus (South Africa) – FynArts Festival (group)

2015 – Venice (Italy) – Imago Mundi (group)

2015 – Creekside (London) – However (group)

2014 – Stellenbosch (South Africa) – What lies beneath (group)

2014 – Cape Town (South Africa) – fragile equilibriums

2013 – Cape Town (South Africa) – HereThere (group)

2010 – Stellenbosch (South Africa) – Woordfees (group)

2010 – Cape Town (South Africa) – The gift of fine art (group)

2010 – Hamburg (Germany) – 152, Kunst macht Schule gGmbH (group)

2009 – Stellenbosch (South Africa) – Woordfees (group)

2008 – Hermanus (South Africa) – Odd objects

2006 – Cape Town (South Africa) – Angle of repose

2004 – Durbanville (South Africa) – Artwords (group)

2004 – Durbanville (South Africa) – Seven deadly sins (group)

2004 – Bellville (South Africa) – BVA Examination Exhibition, UNISA – Angle of repose

2003 – Durbanville (South Africa) – Self-portrait (group)

2003 – Durbanville (South Africa) – Trilogy (group)

2003 – Durbanville (South Africa) – Flowers and vases (group)

2002 – Rome, Temple of Hadrian (Italy) – Memories of Hadrian (group)

2002 – Durbanville (South Africa) – Summer salon (group)

2001 – Bellville (South Africa) – Vuleka (group) (awarded New Signatures Cape Best Graphic Work)

2001 – Bellville (South Africa) – Crisp (group)

An experience of the materials and surfaces of these works are to a certain extent compromised  in an online viewing of the work. In aid of the online format of the exhibition, to bring the work closer and hoping for the work revealing itself more clearly to the viewer, short videos of the works weight, 2020 and measure, 2020, are included. It should give a better sense of the elements of three-dimensionality, textural qualities and layering in the work.