BRONWEN FINDLAY

BIOGRAPHY

BRONWEN FINDLAY

(b. 1953 KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

 

BIOGRAPHY

In her early years, Bronwen Findlay spent most of her time in Kranskop (in the Tugela Valley), Brighton Beach (Durban) and Pietermaritzburg. She now lives and works in Johannesburg. She matriculated at Epworth High School in Pietermaritzburg and then studied Fine Art at what was then the Durban Technikon (Durban Institute of Technology) and the University of Natal (University of KwaZulu-Natal). She received her Master of Arts in Fine Arts and her Higher Diploma in Education from the University of Natal.

Bronwen considers herself both an artist and educationalist. She has taught in schools and universities and has been involved with informal community-based programmes. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and may be seen in public institutions and private homes. She is essentially a painter, but her painterly approach to her subject matter can also be seen in her printmaking and mosaic art.

 

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

My work is informed by spaces I have lived in, places I have been to, things I collect, people I collaborate with. I manipulate paint and colour in response to my subject matter. I like to think that “every picture tells a story” but that each painting exists as its own world.

I try to find beauty in things which might seem insignificant or not of great importance, the ordinary or every day.  I have painted domestic objects which may be loaded with cultural connotations – a willow-patterned piece of crockery from my grandmother, enamel tin plates and mugs bought from trading stores. Textiles and cloth have also played an important role in my work – I was influenced by the embroidery and beadwork created by women from the Limpopo province and for a time beaded my paintings with dots of paint. Colour and decoration have always been an important aspect of my painting. This decorative manipulation of paint may also be seen in more recent paintings of South African flora and fauna – while these works are hardly botanical, I hope that they capture a different reality.

 

JULIA CHARLTON ON BRONWEN FINDLAY

Intense colour, vigorous paint, delight in the decorative and the elevation of the ordinary: these qualities characterize Bronwen Findlay's distinctive vision, which is strongly self-reflexive and personal. She challenges traditionally-held assumptions about hierarchies and value by selecting autobiographical subjects and domestic settings that are often dismissively associated with 'the female realm'. Findlay presents a persuasive argument for the relevance and significance of the everyday, by exploring issues of transience and change through the mechanisms of irony, sentimentality and embellishment, in a powerful affirmation of life.

 

CURRICULUM VITAE

QUALIFICATIONS

1992-1994    

Master of Arts in Fine Art (Cum Laude), University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg

1988-1989     BA Honours (Fine Art) (Cum Laude), University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg

1981              

Higher Diploma in Education, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg

1978-1980    

Bachelor of Arts: Majored in History and Art History, University of Natal,

Pietermaritzburg

1972              

Matriculated Epworth High School

 

EMPLOYMENT

2017              

Part time Lecturer at University of Johannesburg, FADA Department of

Visual Art; contract position in Education, Education Department,

University of the Witwatersrand 

2016              

Part time Lecturer at University of Johannesburg, FADA Department of

Visual Art

2015            

Part time Lecturer at University of Johannesburg, FADA Department of

Visual Art; Replacement Lecturer, University of the Witwatersrand,

Johannesburg in B.Ed. Programme

2014              

Part time Lecturer at University of Johannesburg, FADA Department of

Visual Art; Replacement Lecturer, University of the Witwatersrand,

Johannesburg in B.Ed Programme

2013              

Part time lecturer in Art in Education, Education Department, University of

the Witwatersrand

2012              

Part time lecturer in Art in Education, Education Department, University of

the Witwatersrand; art teacher for Tsogang Basadi women's group,

Ekupholeni, Natalspruit Hospital; part time work with Imbali Visual Literacy

projects, Newtown, Johannesburg

2011              

Part time lecturer in Art in Education, Education Department, University of

Witwatersrand; art teacher with Tsogang Basadi women's group,

Ekupholeni, Natalspruit Hospital

2010

Part time Drawing and Design Lecturer at Wits University School of Arts;

Arts Facilitator at Ekupholeni, Natalspruit Hospital; Trainer and Facilitator for

mosaic art work at LEBONE 11 College of the Royal Bafokeng

2009              

Part time Drawing Lecturer, University of Johannesburg; Visual Arts

Lecturer, PGCE Course, University of the Witwatersrand;
 Arts Coordinator

for Women's project, Ekupholeni, Natalspruit Hospital, Katlehong

2008              

Part time Drawing Lecturer, University of Johannesburg; Visual Arts

Facilitator for Women and Violence Project, CDP, Johannesburg

2007  

Drawing lecturer, first and second year, University of Johannesburg;Visual Arts Facilitator for Women and Violence Project, CDP, Johannesburg; Arts and Culture Workshops for Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Phase Teachers

2005-2006    

Contract employment at the University of Johannesburg: Course Leader

of the First and Second Year Drawing Programmes and the Teacher

Training course. Involved in Third Year Studio Practice.

2004              

Contract employment at the Wits School of Arts, University of the

Witwatersrand: Coordinator of the Third Year Fine Arts programme and

lecturer in the Visual Literacy Foundation course; part time lecturer in the

Visual Literacy course in the Arts and Culture programme for ACE

teachers, organised by the CDP and held at the Johannesburg College of

Education; taught second year drawing at the Wits Technikon

2002-2003    

Contract employment at the University of the Witwatersrand: Taught

Education, Visual Literacy, Painting and Drawing and Design. Involved in

supervision of Masters students; acted as a consultant for the Curriculum

Development Project (CDP) and the Wits School of Arts Partnership

Project

2001-2002    

Self employed. Involved in mosaic projects, art workshops and taught

part-time, lecturing at various institutions

2000-2001    

Leave replacement lecturer in the Printmaking and Drawing departments at the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg

1993-2000    

Lecturer at the University of Durban-Westville. Appointed as printmaking

lecturer and taught Painting, Drawing and Printmaking and

Art Theory. Employed at UDW until the closure of the Arts Drama and

Music departments.

1992              

While on study leave from Brettonwood High School (completing MAFA)

was employed as part time lecturer in the Fine Art departments at the

Natal Technikon and the University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg

1989-1993

Employed as the Art teacher at Brettonwood High School, Durban

1982-1988    

Employed as the Art teacher at Mansfield High School, Durban. Taught

History and Art until the closure of the school in 1988.

1977              

Taught private art classes, Pietermaritzburg

 

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Extensive involvement with informal community-based art programmes, including:

2014/2013    

Contributed to the Arts Alive project for Imbali Visual Literacy programme.

2011-2012    

Continued involvement with art programmes at Ekupholeni,

Natalspruit Hospital.

2010              

Continued involvement with art programmes at Ekupholeni, Natalspruit

Hospital. Mosaic skills training at Phokeng with artists from the Royal

Bafokeng community.

2007  

Facilitated ‘Paper Prayers’ workshop at Artist Proof studio for teachers.

2004              

Worked with Churchill Madikida at Constitution Hill, organised mural

painting project to celebrate Women’s Day and the opening of

Constitution Hill. 

2003              

Azibuye Emasisweni Cultural and Environment heritage project,

Silethukukhanya High School, Khula Village, Dukaduka; worked with David

Andrew and Joni Brenner – Teacher Training and Community

Development workshop at Phutadijhaba.

2002              

Coordinated and taught painting classes for Velobala group,

administered by the African Art Centre, Durban and held at the Natal

Technikon

2001              

Conducted a training programme for Embo craft with a group of rural,

unemployed women in the Shongweni Valley.

1999              

Facilitated a series of workshops for seventeen schools in KwaZulu-Natal as

part of the ‘Upward Bound programme, University of Durban Westville

1998              

Mural Facilitator for murals at new Welfare and Pensions office,

Umbumbulu. Designed and painted murals, assisted by students – Niven

Anghar, Asiya Swaleh and Geeta Ramparsad. Architect: Jenny

Whitehead. Contractors: Allen Brothers. Crafts Council Fair; fabric

painting techniques – slideshow and workshop, Durban Exhibition Centre.

1996

Coordinated and painted interior and exterior of container to be used as

a pre-primary school for street children, Makabongwe School (corner of

Brook and Victoria Streets, Durban); printmaking workshop for African Art

Centre held at Natal Technikon, sponsored by S.I.D.A; fabric painting

workshop, Ladysmith, University of Durban Westville Outreach Programme.

1995              

Fabric painting classes for the Saturday art workshop for the African Art

Centre; Winter School fabric painting workshop held at the University of

Durban Westville.

1994              

Coordinated and taught Saturday school art classes for the African Art

Centre. Classes sponsored by the Swedish International Development Aid.

1993              

Mural mosaic at Brettonwood High School with the school pupils; mural

painting project at St Lawrence School, Valley of a Thousand Hills – joint

project between university students and school children, and part of the

University of Durban-Westville Outreach Programme, sponsored by the

Bartel Arts Trust.

1992              

Art classes in a children’s ward at Baragwanath Hospital, Johannesburg –

decorated the ward at Christmas time; fabric painting workshop held in

Xihoko in the then Northern Transvaal. Tsonga-Shangaan women who are

members of the Xihoko workshop embroider cloths, which are sold to earn

a living wage. The possibility of combining embroidery with fabric painting

was investigated.

 

1988              

Coordinator of children’s art classes at Natal Technikon under the

auspices of the Natal Society of Arts (NSA).

 

1987              

Children’s art classes sponsored by the Durban Arts Association. The

children took part in the Life in the Park festival.  

1986              

Coordinator of art programme for street children. Worked in association

with Natal Society of Arts and Community Arts Workshop.

1980-1984    

Council member of Natal Society of Arts.

1984              

Founder member of the Community Arts Workshop set up in the old

station buildings in Durban. Gave Saturday art classes at the Community

Arts workshop.

 

EXHIBITIONS

 

2012              

MOVING FLOWERS. Exhibition of large and small paintings at the Everard

Read Gallery, Johannesburg.

2009              

Exhibition of large and small paintings matter and treasure and paint at

The South African National Arts Festival, Grahamstown.

3000 HOURS. An exhibition of paintings and textiles by Bronwen Findlay

and Merle Payne at Kalk Bay Modern Gallery, Cape Town.

2008              

TURN AGAIN. Exhibition of paintings and prints held at the Tamasa

Gallery, Durban

FLOATING AND FALLING. Exhibition of monotypes and paintings at David

Krut Projects, Johannesburg.

2007              

LUCKY BEANS AND LACE CURTAIN. Exhibition of prints at Artist Proof Studio,

Newtown, Johannesburg.

SPIER Contemporary, Cape Town

2006              

EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY. Exhibition of paintings and prints held at the

Substation, University of the Witwatersrand and KwaZulu-Natal Society of

Arts, Durban.

ALL ABOUT EVERYTHING. Exhibition held at the Standard Bank Gallery,

Johannesburg.

2005              

A BLANKET STORY. Exhibition of prints at the David Krut print workshop.

Exhibition at TOKARA, Stellenbosch, curated by Julia Meintjes.

2002              

FLOORS AND FLOWERS. Solo exhibition held at the Tamasa Gallery,

Durban.

Nominated for FNB Vita Awards Prize. Exhibition held at Goodman Gallery,

Johannesburg. Work then shown at Potchefstroom Art Festival.

2001              

PAINTING, PRINTING, STITCHING – The work of Bronwen Findlay, Daina

Mabunda, Faiza Galdhari. Curated and coordinated exhibition.

The exhibition was held at the NSA Gallery in Durban after which it was

shown at the Grahamstown Arts Festival and then at the Standard Bank

Gallery in Johannesburg. The Johannesburg show included new work and

was renamed THREADS.

1998              

BRINGING UP BABY – Artists survey the reproductive body. Exhibition

curated by Terry Kurgan. The exhibition was held at the Castle in Cape

Town, at the Grahamstown Standard Bank Arts Festival, and at the Wits Art

Galleries.

30 S X 31E. Four Durban Artists: Bronwen Findlay, Jeremy Wafer, Aidan

Walsh, David Haigh. Lipschitz Gallery, Cape Town.

Solo Exhibition. The 1999 South African Women’s Arts Festival, sponsored by

the Playhouse Company and Transnet.

1997              

Exhibition with Jeremy Wafer at the Natal Society of Arts Gallery, Durban.

Solo exhibition at the Walsh Marais Gallery, Durban.

1996              

Solo exhibition at the Elizabeth Gallery, Durban.

1995              

TRANSITIONS: Contemporary art from the Republic of South Africa. A

touring exhibition presented by Bath Festivals Trust Contemporary Art

Programme in association with OVA.

1994              

MA exhibition at Jack Heath Gallery, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

1989              

Solo exhibition at the Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, Durban.

1987              

Exhibition with Aidan Walsh, Gallery International, Cape Town.

Exhibition with Jeremy Wafer, Clive van den Berg, Andries Botha, Bonnie Ntshalinshali and Fee Halstead at the NSA Gallery, Durban.

1986              

Exhibition with Jeremy Wafer and Virginia Mackenny at the NSA Gallery,

Durban.

Solo exhibition at Café Geneve, Durban.

1985              

Exhibition with Andrew Verster and Clive van den Berg at the Association

of Arts, Pretoria.

1983              

Solo exhibition at the Natal Society of Arts, Durban.

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017              

EARTH FABRIC. Gallery 2, Johannesburg.

2010              

10 YEARS – 10 ARTISTS. Tamasa Gallery, Durban.

MINOR MATTERS. An exhibition curated by Janine Allen at the University of the Free State.

2004              

Brett Kebble Art Awards exhibition, Cape Town

2002              

UNTOLD TALES OF MAGIC: ABELUMBI. Curated by Jill Addleson, Durban Art

Gallery.

2001 & 2005            

BREAK THE SILENCE. Artists for Human Rights. HIV/Aids Billboard and Print

Portfolio project.

2001              

SELF. An exhibition of life-size linocuts, Karoo Festival, Oudtshoorn.

2000-2001    

THE HOUR GLASS PROJECT. A print collaboration, Caversham Press, KZN.


Exhibition held at the Standard Bank festival in Grahamstown, Atlanta,

USA, Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg.

1998              

UTSAV. An exhibition of artists from India and South Africa, Durban Art

Gallery. Exhibition held in honour of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson

Mandela. Exhibition curated by Uma Prakash.

MUSIC AND IMAGE. Standard Bank Festival, Grahamstown. A

collaboration with the Caversham Press.

JABULISA: The art of KwaZulu-Natal. Exhibition held in Durban,

Pietermaritzburg, Johannesburg.

1995              

PANORAMAS OF PASSAGE: Changing landscapes of South Africa. Touring

exhibition organised by Meridian International Centre, Washington DC in

association with the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

SIYAWELA: Love, Loss and Liberty. Africa ’95. Curated by Colin Richards

and Pitika Ntuli from University of the Witwatersrand and Birmingham City

Art Museum.

OBJECTS OF DESIRE. The Thompson Gallery, Johannesburg.

1992              

ART MEETS SCIENCE: Flowers as image. Grahamstown Festival and national

travelling exhibition.

1989              

Volkskas Atelier Exhibition, Association of Arts, Pretoria.

1988              

Volkskas Atelier Exhibition, Association of Arts, Pretoria.

1987              

Volkskas Atelier Exhibition, Association of Arts, Pretoria.

1986              

Volkskas Atelier Exhibition, Association of Arts, Pretoria.

DURBAN ARTISTS. Elizabeth Gordon Gallery, Durban.

End Conscription Campaign Exhibition, Durban.

1985              

National Paper Works Exhibition, Natal Society of Arts, Durban.


AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS

2007              

Helgaard Steyn Award for painting. Presentation held at North-West

University.

2004              

Merit Award for A PAINTING ABOUT A BEDSPREAD, Brett Kebble Art

Awards, Cape Town.

2002              

Nominated for VITA Art Award

 

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

 

Stegmann Gallery, University of the Free State

Durban Institute of Technology

Durban Art Gallery

Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg

Unisa Collection, Pretoria

Wits Art Galleries, University of Witwatersrand

Natal Provincial Administration

Botany Department, University of Cape Town

ABSA Bank Collection

Engen Collection

Empangeni Art and Culture Museum

Carnegie Art Museum, Newcastle, Natal Margate Art Museum, KwaZulu-Natal

KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Administration

Sasol Collection, Johannesburg

MTN Collection, Johannesburg

Standard Bank, Johannesburg

First National Bank

 

COMMISSIONS

 

2010-2017     Mosaics for homes and public buildings:

 

Mosaic for Morrison home, Johannesburg

Mosaic for Cianfanelli home, Johannesburg

Mosaic for Tanya Zack, Anstey’s Building, Johannesburg

Mosaic for St Andrew’s School for Girls, Johannesburg

Mosaic for Saheti School, Johannesburg

Mosaic for Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, Johannesburg

Mosaic for Biokinetic Centre, University of Johannesburg

Mosaics for Ruff home, St James, Cape Town


Mosaic panel for Buntman home, Johannesburg

Mosaic for house Ireton, Parktown North, Johannesburg

Mosaic for house Muller, Melrose, Johannesburg

Mosaic for Read home, Rosebank, Johannesburg

Mosaic for Pulford home, Birdhaven, Johannesburg

Mosaic for Arcache home, Durban

 

2001              

Melrose Arch mosaic project with Jane du Rand and Andrew Verster.          Partly responsible for designing and applying 400sqm of mosaic to lift shaft, tower block, interior and exterior walls of a building designed by architects from Omm Design Workshop, Durban.

 

2000              

Designed book cover for "Jurisprudence: A South African Perspective" by David Johnson, Steve Pete, Max du Plessis. Painting titled ‘Seeds and Scales’.

 

1995-2000    

Designed covers for ‘Alternation: Journal of the Centre for the Study of Southern African Literature and languages’.

 

1994              

Commissioned to paint flower painting for the Botany Department,

University of Cape Town.

 

1992              

‘Art meets science’. Commissioned for the Grahamstown Festival and

printed at the Caversham Press.

 

1991              

Portfolio of prints commissioned by First National Bank, printed at

Caversham Press.

 

1988              

Mural for the Malherbe Library, University of Natal, Durban.

1987              

‘Happy birthday Andrew’. Portfolio of prints by different artists

commissioned by the Goodman Gallery and printed at Caversham Press.

 

 OTHER PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES

 

Findlay has acted as a judge for various art competitions, and opened numerous art exhibitions.

 

2017              

‘A book historian and an artist join forces: Books as artistic instruments.’

Paper presented with Isabel Hofmeyr at FADA colloquium, University of

Johannesburg.      

 

2016              

Round table presentation for Multiple Modernisms colloquium, University of

the Witwatersrand.

 

2006              

ARTIST TO ARTIST exchange. Awarded by VISITING ARTS, UK. Collaboration

with Joy Gregory.

Women Artists and Poets Advocate Children’s Rights. Collaboration with

Yvette Christianse. A project of Art for Humanity.

 

2005              

‘Every picture tells a story’. Paper presented at University of KwaZulu-Natal,

Centre of Visual Art, Pietermaritzburg as part of international conference,

‘Dress in Southern Africa’.

 

2003-2007    

Appointed as external moderator for third and fourth year students from

the Fine Art Department at the Vaal University of Technology.

 

2006-2007    

Appointed as external examiner for the Fine Art Department of the

University of the Free State.

 

2005-2006    

Appointed as moderator at Greenside Design Centre, Johannesburg.

 

2004              

Appointed as external moderator for B-tech students from the School of

Art, Design and Architecture at Witwatersrand Technikon.

 

2002              

Judged Martienssen Exhibition with Jeremy Wafer at Johannesburg Art

Gallery.

Opened SURVEY at Durban Art Gallery, an exhibition of ten years of work by Jeremy Wafer.

 

2001              

Presented a paper at the annual conference of the South African

Association of Art and Architectural Historians.

 

1999              

Artist in Residence, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown.

 

1998              

‘New ground – common ground’. Attended conference and took part in

print exchange portfolio, Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

 

1997              

‘African landscape with aeroplane – before and after’. Paper presented

at Joseldoff Gallery, University of Hartford, Connecticut, USA.


Panel discussion to coincide with exhibition ‘Panoramas of Passage – Changing Landscapes of South Africa’.

 

1996              

On the selection panel of the Emma Smith Overseas Art Scholarship, Natal

Technikon.

 

1995              

‘Painting and stitching – The work of Bronwen Findlay and Daina

Mabunda’, paper presented at the University of Durban Westville, the

Centre for the Study of Southern African Literature and Languages.


Symposium: ‘Transmissions – Contemporary Art from the Republic of South Africa’, Bath, United Kingdom. Presented a paper on the work of Bronwen Findlay and Daina Mabunda.

 

1992

‘Xihoko embroidery’. Paper presented at conference on Crafts in

Education, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg.

 

1987              

Spent four months at the Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris

 

 © Bronwen Findlay 2007 – 2017 | All rights reserved