Artist biography

Janet Botes is an artist who works intuitively to express her appreciation for the sacredness, cycles, and biodiversity of the Earth in her art and workshops. In her exploratory approach to art, the initial concept for an artwork often changes and evolves. The process is guided by spontaneous responses to the subject matter and materials, and in this sense each artwork is a new exploration and adventure. Her work includes Land Art, Installation Art, Drawing, Painting, Mixed Media, Photography, Digital Art and Assemblage – and often involves her working just as much in the outdoors than in the studio. Currently, Janet is integrating her spiritual practice into her artistic practice in ways that (1) seek to inspire others to see the magic in everyday life, (2) expressing her emotional response to the world, and (3) emphasize the creative ritual as a guiding force for sacred and embodied living.

Solo exhibitions: Wild & Still: expressions of the landscape (2014)  & ORGANISM (2016), StateoftheArt Gallery, Cape Town. 

Janet has been involved with projects and residencies that relate to art and the environment, including Site_Specific, the Karoo Geoglyph Project, the Global Nomadic Art Project, Tankwa Artscape residency, Thupelo, and OPENLab. Her art is included in several corporate and private art collections, and she has done artwork commissions for PPS Investments, Optima Training, Heyns & Partners Inc, and the Sandown MyCiti bus station in Bloubergstrand, Cape Town. Janet coordinated two group exhibitions: VERGE in Knysna in 2018 and ‘(eco)nversation’ in Cape Town in 2012. She offers workshops and creative coaching with the aim of helping to unearth and develop people’s inherent creativity.

“Digging my toes deeply into the sand, soil and pebbles. Feeling the wind and the sun.
Stoking the fire of my own creative soul.
And going deeper in the experience of life in all its complexity and its simplicity.
Its stillness as well as its wildness.
Flowing where the waters, and my emotions, take me.”

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I love things that symbolise, express or honour the rhythms, seasons and cycles of nature. I believe that energy connects us within space and time to each other, the planet and everything in, on and around it. I believe art can facilitate healing, strengthen these energy connections and inspire the expression of the creativity inherent in everyone.

Janet Botes

Artist Statement

With an intuitive, exploratory approach to art, my work is often process-based. It ranges from detailed ink drawings to performative actions and explorations in urban, gallery, and outdoor spaces. I am interested in the nature and spirit of a place just as much as our inter-relationships with these spaces and other organisms. The initial concept for an artwork often changes and evolves over a period of days or weeks. A process is often also guided by spontaneous responses to my subject matter and materials, and in this sense, each artwork is a new experience and exploration. What unifies my work, is my underlying intention of sharing my connection and respect for the sacredness and interconnectivity of life. I am particularly guided and inspired by ecology, biodiversity, natural cycles, and our place as a species within the web of life and the galactic community.

My work is inspired by the natural rhythms of the Earth and by taking into consideration how deep ecology, biology, the Gaia theory, and our daily lives intertwine. My work is also informed by my quest to learn more about myself and the world, finding new ways of being, deepening my spiritual experience of what we call ‘reality’, and expressing this in ever-expanding ways.

Nature is resilient and powerful, but the balance of ecosystems can be easily disrupted when the interconnectivity of all living creatures and processes are not respected. When even one species of insect or fungus is eradicated completely, other animals, plants or natural processes of growth and decay that relied upon the species can no longer function or exist, which creates a chain reaction with devastating results. Our actions as inhabitants and custodians of the earth have an unthinkably large impact on the earth – within the palms of our hands, we hold the power to change our way of living and co-existing.

Through exploring and supporting nature conservation and awareness about environmental issues in my work or professional life for the past few years, I have come to believe that the core of our problems is not the system itself. It is not society, the government or our cities. The core of the problem is the individuals that make up our society, building the inefficient and destructive systems, and individuals who see themselves as disconnected beings, as separate from “nature”, rather than a thread in the web of life. I believe that through personal healing, we can build and support a life of harmony and respect for our planet, plant kingdom, animals, and each other.

MY VISION

A world filled with more trees and art, in which everyone’s hearts beat faster for the beauty of a stormy sky, forest, landscape, or a praying mantis appearing. A life of balance, simplicity, mindfulness, and creativity – connected to ecology, biodiversity, regeneration, and a new way of living with compassion and tolerance for all other people and species.

MY MISSION

I use my impulse to create and share my experiences and perspectives in ways that enrich, inform and inspire. I believe in creating art that honours the sacred in life by highlighting the beauty and complexity of life. I explore ways of connecting deeper to our true nature within the web of life – as a fellow species to others, reliant on the cycles of the Earth, and responsible for conserving biodiversity and assisting the natural regeneration of our ecosystems.

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