These figurative studies explore fractured childhoods, family violence, mental illness, addiction and premature death through the photo albums of a deceased godmother.
The fleeting, carefree moments of childhood stand in stark contrast to a medium, bitumen, that is fairly permanent and known for its waterproofing and adhesive properties. Although the undercurrents of growing up in a violent family tormented by addiction and mental illness are not visible on the surface, like bitumen, the damage leaves a permanent mark.
Philanie Jooste enrolled for a BA in Fine Arts at the University of Pretoria in 1993, but decided, towards the middle of her second year, to put her eggs in another basket. She vowed to never touch a paintbrush again.
She pursued a future in writing by serving as both news and article editor at the student newspaper, “Die Perdeby”, and went on to complete an honours degree in publishing. This was followed by an adventure in Scotland for two years. After her return to South Africa, she worked for newspapers, a book distribution company, an educational NGO and a small publisher, before starting her own publishing business in 2013.
In 2017 Philanie saw a Facebook post by well-known artist, Hermann Niebuhr, calling interested artists to work in his studio in Fordsburg. After working 18-hour days for years to publish educational materials for NGOs, she was finally ready to explore other avenues. She was introduced to bitumen as a medium in Hermann’s studio, as he was working with bitumen on paper at the time. Philanie worked in the Lilian Road Studio for three years and started mixing oil with bitumen on canvas in her final year with Hermann.
She participated in a successful group exhibition with fellow studio artists at the Lilian Road Studio in 2019. In 2020, she exhibited and sold some works at the “Of Thee I Sing” exhibition, by Lizamore and Associates. She is currently participating in an online exhibition by Lizamore and Associates, “Imitation of Life”.
Philanie is interested in issues like fractured childhoods, violence, mental illness, addiction and premature death. She lives in Johannesburg with her husband, two sons and two rescue dogs. She is an undercover runner and a novice tennis player.