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Talita Swarts

Jen Webb in the article, Art and the Ideal Community (2002) makes the comment that “Art is about excellence, expression, beauty, ideas, controversy, communication and humanity.”

Talita Swarts currently lives in Cape Town, but was born in Ventersdorp in the North Western Province of South Africa. She matriculated at Hoërskool Ventersdorp in 2000 and was the overall winner of the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition in 2003. In 2004 she obtained her BA (Fine Arts) degree with a distinction for her practical work. During 2005 she helped develop and implement a Teachers’ Training Workshop dealing with the Arts and Culture curriculum for the Development Bank of South Africa. In 2007 she completed her MA (Fine Arts) degree at the University of Pretoria with an exhibition entitled Between Two Silences. During 2008 she was the project manager for a community empowerment project, The Centenary Rose Collaborative Arts Initiative, implemented by the department of Marketing and Communication at the University of Pretoria. During 2009 she participated in the Florence Biennale held at Fortezza da Basso in Florence, Italy. At the Biennale she won the Lorenzo il Magnifico award for fourth place in Installation art.

Artist Statement
I believe that art represents a powerful tool through which complicated emotions and issues can be communicated to the world. For this reason I feel strangely empowered and liberated when I make an artwork. Primarily I try to communicate that change is possible if you change how people look at the world. My own creative process varies according to the medium I chose for the creation of a specific artwork. Usually it starts with a lengthy process of concept development. During this phase I try to simplify visual coding either through choice of medium or the use of symbols. This is however a thin line to walk as an artist, because it is easy to fall in the trap of over simplifying complicated issues. If you are not careful you will lose the viewers attention. For this reason my work is multi-layered, seemingly simplistic, but if you dig beneath the surface multiple interpretations and understandings of the work will emerge depending on your own level of knowledge on the subject addressed. Often I make use of visual metaphors as a means through which to communicate my concept to the observer. In other words through combining seemingly unrelated objects or materials I try to explain new ideas about issues or emotions experienced by contemporary society to the viewer. The above mentioned process links with my own philosophy for the creation of a successful work of art. Art, in my view, must be understood by the viewer. It must be relevant within the context of contemporary society, and it must have a physical, lasting effect on the consciousness of the observer.
Many artists have influenced my work, but Joseph Beuys remains the one artist that influenced my vision as an artist through his concept of democratic art. Beuys believed that the creative process can change society. This belief greatly influenced me as a South African artist.
“The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it” (Marcus Aurelius).

  • Centenary Rose Community Art Initiative -

    Roses have been used throughout history as symbols of love, beauty, war, and politics, as confetti at celebrations, for medicinal purposes, and as a source of perfume (The History of Roses 2008). Painted cake boxes filled with food parcels for the women of the Winterveld community
    900 m2

  • Power Tone I & II 2007 -

    16 x 10.5 x 34cm POWER TONE II
    14 x 8.5 x 59cm DRUMS
    Upholstered with faux leather

  • Drums 2007 -

    Upholstered with faux leather

  • Kwere Kwere 2007 -

    The artwork Kwere Kwere comments on the current “language dilemma” we are facing in South Africa. Children are being deprived of a good education because of their inability to express themselves in the language used by the teachers in the classroom as well as their mother tongues at home. The artwork can be described as representing a “contemporary” mural for a New South Africa. It comprises of eleven radios framed in red and arranged in a typical geometric pattern on a black and white wall, as well as three horns mounted underneath the hanged radios forming their speakers. Thus the viewer will hear cacophonic sounds on entering the space.
    The three horns refer to various aspects of this particular situation experienced by South Africans. For example, cattle horns has been traditionally used by both Western and African people to announce war as well as to call the people together; thus referring to the binary situation we currently find ourselves in: Either declaring a language war or to come together as one nation and focus rather on communication than on language.


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TalitaSwartsTalita Swarts


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