Self-taught artist, John Kotze, had a passion for painting and art from a tender age.
He aired his first exhibition in 1989 at the John Boyne Gallery in Harare, followed by solo exhibitions at Delta Gallery, as well as the National Gallery of Zimbabwe.
He also represented Zimbabwe at the 9th Havana Biennale, Cuba. The Havana Biennale Art Exhibition is a contemporary showcase by artists who come from or have their cultural roots in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Kotze’s paintings mostly portray the simple world around him. Although self-taught, Kotze received help from many artists, notably the late painter, Martin van der Spuy.
Speaking to Harare News about his work and inspiration, Kotze said, “After working as an engineer for a few years, I decided to take the plunge and start painting full time while looking after my newborn son at home. My inspiration derives from pop and realism.
“My art often resembles ordinary everyday things that often pass unnoticed in our daily lives. I am also attracted by the patterns and rhythms created by groups of similar objects, as we often see in shops, markets, as well as animals and plants.”
Kotze’s recent project is the incorporating of his painted works with a South African manufacturer in the production of Sublimated Drawstring Backpacks. His art works are printed from original oil paintings.
The bags are made of durable fabric, plastic-coated on the inside for easy cleaning with two sturdy handles and a press-stud closer.
The different designs include pumpkins, masks, pilchards, ice-cream spoons, bougainvillea and enamel ware. “My bags help me to increase visibility as an artist,” said Kotze.
His bags are available for sale at The Bottom Drawer and Kiki’s Gallery.
Speaking about upcoming exhibitions in the year 2017, Kotze said, “I have no planned exhibitions for 2017. However, my home is a sort of an informal gallery, where visitors can come and see my work.”
The most notable awards won by Kotze, include being selected to attend Documenta 12, representing Zimbabwe in Kassel, Berlin. Documenta is an exhibition of modern and contemporary art which takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany.
Kotze was born in Malawi, grew up in Namibia and then studied engineering at the University of Cape Town. He came to Zimbabwe soon after independence.