Absa Art Hot Spot
Empowering African fine arts
She Could Not See the Forest for the Trees
Image - 493 x 740 mm, Paper - 553 x 800 mm
Digital Print on Felix Schoeller True Fiber 200gsm
Limited Edition of 4
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In my work I attempt to both unravel and knit together my experience of the domestic space and in more recent years my experience of motherhood.
My work is situated in a space between multiple binaries: the comfortable and the awkward; the controlled and uncontrolled; the familiar and the strange; exteriority and interiority. It is in this strange space that I find myself exploring ideas around bodily autonomy, subjectivity, work, worth and taboo.
My materials are noticeably varied and reflect my interest in oppositions. Repetitive, laborious acts which mimic the tedium of domestic live, accidents, destruction and re-assembling all play an important role in how I explore my relationships within the domestic sphere and my role as a mother, a wife, a human being. The performative nature of my art making process often reflects the busyness of women’s-work to expose the constant labour of parenting, the time-consuming, seemingly endless repetition of trifling tasks that are required within everyday life.
1981 . South Africa
I am a 39 year old wife and mother of two children living and working in Cape Town, South-Africa. I received a BA in Fine Art (with distinction) in 2003 and an MA in Fine Art, in 2007, from the Stellenbosch University, South Africa. After marrying and working as an art teacher for three years, I resumed my studies in England where I obtained a second MA in Fine Art (with distinction) in 2011 from Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom.
I started exhibiting as a student and my work has regularly featured in group exhibitions since 2000. My work has been shown both locally and internationally. I have had 8 solo exhibitions, 6 of which have been in the last 7 years. 99 Loop Gallery has regularly featured my paintings at the prestigious Investec Cape Town Art Fair. My most recent solo exhibition Life, Death and All The Fear In-Between was received with public and media acclaim.
I’ve been nominated as a finalist in numerous national art competitions, including Sasol New Signatures 2007, Vuleka Art Competition 2012 and Barclays L’Atelier 2016. My work has been included in numerous private and public collections including the M&C Saatchi Abel Art Collection and the Art Bank of South Africa. A recent article about my art practice titled, “Stitching and unpicking ambivalence toward womanhood and maternity in works by Ilené Bothma” by Irene Bronner, senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, has been published in the visual culture journal “Image and Text” in December 2020. This article provides an indepth overview of various aspects of my art practice thus far.