Q&A with Merit Winner 2019: Angelique Bougaard

Tell us about your artistic journey up until the point of entering Sasol New Signatures 2019? 

This might sound like a cliché, but my artistic journey started in creche when we had colouring-in time. I would stay in during break time just to draw and colour in. When I was a little nipper at Kenton Primary School, arts & culture was one of my favourite subjects because we could eat chocolates in class and draw at the same time. My sister was in high school at the time and she took visual art as a subject. I loved watching her draw and paint, looking at her art I knew that I wanted to make art. When I got to High School at Alberton High, art was my safe space. My art teacher developed my interest in art history. I moved schools in grade 11 when I was offered an art bursary at Southdowns College in conjunction with Open Window. I went on to study teaching at the University of Johannesburg and majored in psychology and visual art for teachers. While studying teaching, my visual art lecturers encouraged me to study fine art. This lead me to my current journey as a 3rd-year student at the University of Johannesburg at the Faculty of Art and Design. Along my journey I've entered art eisteddfods and various art competitions, the latest being Sasol New Signatures.

Who or what has had the biggest influence on your career as an artist to date?

My experiences, spirituality and family have been the biggest influence on my career as it forms my subject matter covertly or overtly.

What motivated you to enter the Sasol New Signatures art competition this year?

The faculty of art at the University of Johannesburg encourages all students to enter the Sasol New Signatures competition. During my June review, my lecturers encouraged me to enter this piece.

Tell us a little about why you created the piece you submitted? 

In a drawing class, we were encouraged to create a piece that was rooted in brave steps. This lead me to conceptualise a piece that lay within a nostalgic authentic space that held an eerie memory which impacted me. The bravery is placed within the melancholic confrontation of a difficult memory.

Art competitions can be a huge motivator for artists. What do you think of this statement?

Art competitions offer young emerging artists the platform to showcase artworks. This is a huge motivator as it provides us with experience and space to allow our work to engage with society.

Why is it important to focus on the experience rather than just the prizes?

For me, experience offers a space for growth both personally and technically. Prizes offer a space of recognition which is exciting and lies within a worldly space (this may dwindle with time). Experience is indelible which houses its importance.

Do you have a mentor and how important is mentorship in developing a career?

My family, teachers and lecturers acted as mentors along my artistic journey. Mentorship is an important factor in the development of my career as it provides me with a space to interact, enquire and gain skills.

What excites you about the creative process?

Watching how a work transforms and develops throughout the creative process excites me. As I create it feels like I enter into another space where something inside me takes over. When I 'complete' a work and enter back into the space sometimes I look at a work I've produced and wonder how I did that. That feeling of creating an authentic work that emerges from the pit of my gut excites me.

Tell us about your preferred medium/s ...and why?

I love exploring new mediums. The idea of taking different materials and integrating them is something that intrigues me. When I find something that speaks to my truths I know it is the medium I need to work in. Papermaking, printmaking, drawing and sculpture offer me the platform to be experimental and just create without feeling limited.

If you could summarise your entered work in three independent words, what would it be?

Nostalgic, Spiritual and Eerie

Has entering this competition taught you anything about yourself?

Entering Sasol New Signatures has helped me gain confidence in my work and in my process of creating. The realisation that people can experience and connect to what I am producing is an exciting feeling.

Which South African artists do you admire and why?

There are so many great South African artists I admire. I try to make myself aware of the different types of works that they are producing within the industry.  The lecturers at the University of Johannesburg are all artists and their artworks are incredible and inspiring; being trained by them is amazing.

If I were to condense the artists that inspire me into a shortlist I'd include the following:

Igshaam Adams - inspired by his sculptural and performance works.

In school, I admired the work of four female South African artists Berni Searle, Judith Mason, Leora Farber and Diane Victor. 

What are you currently working on? What is next for you as an artist? 

I'm currently working on my body of work for my November 3rd year review. My next step as an artist would be for me to continue creating art, travel and complete my Honours degree in Fine Art.

What impact would winning this competition have on you? 

The impact of being a part of this competition already feels like an incredible opportunity. Having my work shown within the catalogue and displayed at the Pretoria Art Museum is incredible because it provides me, as an emerging artist , the platform to showcase my work, allowing my voice to be heard and seen within the art community.

Being selected as one of the top 7 is a surreal feeling, I did not expect this. Being considered is impactful on me because the feeling that people respond to what you are creating makes your work feel more meaningful.

Winning this competition would offer me the means to produce a body of work that will have the platform to be showcased. It will also provide me with the financial means to purchase materials and further my studies.

The winner and the merit award winners receive lots of publicity. Is this something that excites or daunts you?

I would describe it as both exciting and daunting. Exciting in the sense that it will provide us with the platform for our work. Daunting in the sense that I am an introverted individual that will need to take on an extroverted role; however, this is daunting in the most incredible sense.

What does innovation in the visual arts mean to you?

I would describe innovation in the art industry as a metamorphosis of the industry. From a South African perspective, I would perceive it as being rooted within decolonisation of the industry and re-centering within a South African model.

In your work, how important is commentary on current social or political issues?

I would say that my work subtly provides commentary towards these issues. Within this particular artwork, I display the notion of taxi violence and the mistrust I have of our protective services (law enforcement and forensic investigators). This artwork displaying my father’s murder scene is filled with ambiguities. The case has never been resolved and closed and the senselessness and injustice linger.

 Art is… essential to life.

Download the 2019 catalogue here