Jaco Van Schalkwyk
Jaco van Schalkwyk was born in 1981 in Benoni, South Africa, where he grew up in the headquarters of the Latter Rain Mission International. The artist holds a BA degree in Historical studies at UNISA and currently resides in Randburg.Since the conception of his 2015 solo exhibition ‘Eden’ at the Barnard Gallery in Cape Town , Van Schalkwyk has been concerned with the idea of the exotic and the symbolism of forests and islands. Exploring beyond the surface of these places, the artist challenges our idea of ‘Utopia’ or ‘Paradise’ and questions the western notion that paradise is found in the beauty of exotic landscapes and / or ‘the other’. Reminiscent of Romantic landscape painting, Van Schalkwyk’s works use metaphor and symbolism to ascribe moral significance to the growth and decomposition of natural objects.His contemporary vistas speak of man’s abuse of the natural world and the threat of climate change. Where romanticism celebrated the idea of nature as both refuge and dream, Van Schalkwyk reveals that this very nature is being neglected and abused. Van Schalkwyk has participated in numerous exhibitions in South Africa and abroad and is represented in several collections: The Reserve Bank of South Africa, Absa bank, RMB, the University of Pretoria, the University of Johannesburg, the Pretoria Art Museum and the Ellerman Collection. The Barnard Gallery held five successful Solo exhibitions for the artist in recent years;”Just a matter of Time” in 2012 , “I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things” in 2013, “Eden” in 2015 , “-arium” in 2017 and “ Smoke and Mirrors” in 2021. In 2019 his work was shown as part of the 3 man exhibition “A Land I Name Yesterday“ . The Gallery also presented the artist’s solo projects “Arcadia” at the 2016 FNB Jo’burg Art Fair and “ Nemora” at the 2018 Volta Art Fair in Basel, Switzerland. Van Schalkwyk was awarded the Sylt Foundation Artist residency at the 2013 Absa L’Atelier Art Competition and has since been involved with several International projects hosted by the Foundation. The University of Johannesburg selected the artist in 2015 to attend the 6th International Beijing Biennale in China where his work formed part of the South African Group exhibition “ 20 – Art in the time of Democracy”.