Nadia Estelwen Viljoen, a young lady who matriculated from High School Durbanville in 2011 is the new talk of the town when it comes to art.
When she was in Grade 8 she started to draw, but according to her she was not very good. In Grade 10 she attended Tygerberg Art School after hours and her love for art grew. Once matriculated, Nadia studied Fine Art at Ruth Prowse from 2012 – 2014. She applied at numerous studio’s, but only two answered with a “No”. Nadia eventually was employed to work for an Art Gallery Company on a Cruise Ship, selling art from old masters (Dali, Miro, Picasso, Goya and Rembrandt) as well as contemporary art (Peter Max – Pop Surrealist, Yaacov Agan – Kinetic Artist, Romero Britto – Pop Artist, Lebo – Street Artist). This experience inspired her to create art which forms a connection between traditional art and current art trends.
Joan Miro was her inspiration to become an artist. Miro created surreal art and practised as accountant simultaneously. The contrast between his lifestyle and his art made her aware of the contrast in humanity. Balance and contrast is what creates life.
Captivating your attention with surreal juxtaposed imagery and bright colours, the viewer becomes lost in a universe of symbolism. Nadia started working with transformation as a theme and exploring this theme further, inspired her to use popular culture imagery that resonates with our cliché-ridden society to create a sense of nostalgia. Nadia explores mediums e.g. spray paint, acrylic paint and resin to add to the mass produced feel in combination with traditional techniques and oil paints. She merges objects and figures from childhood memories and thereby creates a feeling of nostalgia. The reality which lurks within it all is depicted in the imagery which are all mass produced in an over-killed Western society.
When asked about her current body of work, Nadia said the following: “I am part of an era, and more specifically, a generation in which words have almost died. We were raised by a visual parent called television/play station/cell phones, etc. but one thing we never abandoned was Lego. It was where your imagination could run wild and you build and create parallel universes in your creative, kindred mind. Admit it or not, we have been influenced by everything in our lives, but during our childhood we are the most susceptible to our surroundings. My clearest memories involved cartoons. What did these characters create in my life? This can go quite deep if you go into the psyche, but on a simple level, they were heroes and friends, they made me giggle and feel happy. Sometimes we forget how to feel joy, as we get older. Our lives have become incredibly serious and career driven, but to what extent? We are losing our inner child, our happy, innocent selves. To me this body of work is a bridge between adulthood and childhood. It brings you back to those happy days, a beautiful memory. Memories are all we have of our life’s experiences, which we can embrace till end of time, and that is what makes us unique. We all have different experiences. The imagery I chose of the most well-known cartoon characters from this century. It brings people together in a space of time, we are separated with the overwhelming world of technology. Now, because of technology and the exposure to the imagery, it is the very same thing that unites and brings us together.”
When asked for advice for young, new artist, where do they start, Nadia gave a very unexpected answer. Create your identity. Go find yourself and do soul searching. You have to know what you are trying to say with your art. There must be a purpose to your art. Expose yourself. You need to decide between money and passion, you don’t have to be special, but you must be willing to work hard. And you must be willing to try. Art is for the people and therefor people need to be interested in your art.
Refreshing, as the answer was not the usual, go find a good art school.
Nadia says people don’t listen or read to understand anymore. They are too absorbed in their own life. The existence and the message of art creates a crucial message to society. When you see an image that draws your attention, you observe and becomes intrigued. This is her reason for making art, to provoke human beings to listen again. The reaction and thoughts you have inside you when you see something you like, is the first step to a conscious living. You think about why you reacted that way, or what it is that influenced that feeling, then you understand the message of art. It is about the human condition, it is about our emotional, physical and spiritual state. It is like a mirror that reflects humanity, because it reflects what is inside of you. That is why we are drawn to different things in life, because we have all experienced life on different levels.
Nadia’s exhibition, in conjunction with Allessandro Pappada (sculptor) will be at the WHOW Studio’s (where Nadia also works as an art tutor), c/o Ixia and Protea rd, Durbanville – 021 9766784 from 4 May 2017 – 27 Junie 2017.
Monday – Thursday 09H00 – 17H00
Fridays – 09H00 – 13H00
Entry – FREE
Nadia will attend opening night, but if you wish to make an appointment with her, you are welcome to contact WHOW at the above mentioned number.
When asked if opening nights are as extravagant as seen on television, Nadia laughed and said no, you can actually wear what you want.
I will most definitely be there on Thursday evening, I hope to see you there to support this amazing and extremely interesting artist.