I am Olwethu de vos

contemporary african artist

Olwethu de Vos (1992) is a contemporary Multidisciplinary fine artist and an art curator based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She works and explores both 2D and 3D disciplines of art, working with glass sculptures and mixed media drawings. Olwethu obtains a Bachelors degree in Fine and Applied arts from the Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, where she majored in Glass Blowing, Sculpture and Figure studies.

Shortly from graduating Olwethu became a recipient of the Teresa Lizamore Curatorial Mentorship Programmed in 2017, working hand in hand with emerging contemporary and prominent artists from August House Doornfontein, Johannesburg. She has predominantly curated Art exhibitions in Johannesburg and Pretoria. She is the co founder of The For Sale Project Exhibition at the Pretoria art Museum and The Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize working in crafting emerging artist careers.

Olwethu has also taken part in various art competitions such as the Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Award and forming part of the Top 15 in 2017. Her studio is at August House, known to the locals as “The Artists’ playground.” Over seeing the city landscape Olwethu investigates and interrogates societal ideologies.

Contemporary African Art

'...anatomy of the human body in its purest form of humanity'.


‘I focus on the anatomy of the human body in its purest form of humanity. The human structure is so predictable and definite before it is corrupted and classified by societal ideologies, all living humans belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens. The study of the human body involves anatomy, physiology, histology and embryology. The body varies anatomically in known ways nonetheless it is how we are all born and what we all die with. However, over time, humans begun distinguishing race, ethnicity, racism and social categorization. Race being the common denominator in societal ideologies is a social construct, meaning it does not have a basis in the natural world but is simply an artificial distinction created by humans.

I often cover the face with metallic material to emphasize the purity of the human form. By removing the identity our mind set shifts from whom the person could be and where they could belong in the world, to the form in front of you. However simultaneously I also do embed identity metaphorically and symbolically. What material could represent and characterize may be stretched over many horizons. For instance, a flag is a representation of demographics, politics, and culture. A uniform can establish status, class, religion and career. The knowledge we acquire is documented through materialistic means. There are many other examples. My intent is to juxtaposition the two notions in my art.

I always aim to capture movement with my figures because we are constantly moving with time, within space and physically. For the physiology and histology of the human body to function, it needs to be in constant motion for example the heart consistently pumps blood throughout the circulatory system.

My use of metallic matter in my art, is a representation of technology. Because we are in infinite motion one thing that always moves and develops with time as we do, is technology and the Industrial Revolutions’.