Foreign and Local Trees

Oil on panel

Size: 73 x 73cm

Artist's statement:

'In my recent work I explore a specific working methodology that seems to be prevalent at the moment, which may be stated simply as 'how to animate dumb objects from found and sourced objects, artefacts, implements, ruins and so on. Where text is absent, the history of (African) oral societies is constructed '.

'In my work, I have tried to further the idea of objects as augmentation to speech, posing questions such as : 'In speech, when does a speaker revert to visuals?' I have also looked at oral cultures, the charismatic speaker and 'priority perspectives' - truth, and what people want that truth to be.'

'In my recent suite of four prints, I made reference to a set of sculptures that I have been working on. I have tried to imagine what the iconography of a pan-African religion might look like. There are four animals, all female: a lioness, a cow, an eagle and a peahen. The land animals have three heads and six legs, and the sky animals have three heads.'

Joachim Schonfeldt 2004


Joachim Schonfeldt was born in Pretoria, and completed his schooling in Namibia. After graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand in the early 1980s, he worked for Meneghelli Holdings as a curator and researcher in old African art.

Schonfeldt became a full time artist in 1988. In 1989 he lived and worked in Italy, before settling in Johannesburg the following year, writing criticism for a local daily and curating, but mostly practising art. In 2002 Schonfeldt taught and was artist in residence at ECAV, Sierre, in Switzerland.

He has exhibited widely in South Africa and internationally. His work has been included on the Venice, Sao Paulo and Johannesburg Biennales. He is one of the founding artists of the Fordsburg Artists Studios (The Bag Factory) , which runs an international residency programme, and where he and a number of Johannesburg artists have their studios.

© 2006 All rights reserved. Origination by Di Conradie.