Penny Siopis is a South African Visual Artist that focuses on the hardships that people go through in her art and she tries to understand different people by putting herself in their shoes when she works on a particular artwork. I have chosen her for my essay as she is an inspirational artist that looks at art from a unique and honest point of view . Penny Siopis was born in 1953 in the small town of Vryburg in the Northern Cape Province. She studied Fine Arts at Rhodes University and Portsmouth Polytechnic before lecturing at the Natal Technikon in Durban. In 1984, she moved to Johannesburg and has lectured in the Department of Fine Arts at the Witwatersrand University (Wits) ever since. She is also represented by the Michael Stevenson Gallery and The Goodman Gallery. Siopis has had many exhibitions both locally and internationally since 1975. She has won a variety of awards some of which are; the Volkskas Atelier Award, and the Vita Art Now award. Her work is well represented in South African and international collections. In the eighties, Siopis became well known for her baroque banquet paintings especially those that give of a sense of depression in a form of psychiatric disorder she was famous for her historical paintings too. She used random objects in her work, which emitted colonialism, gender, and discrimination of aspects in South African life.
Figure 1: Dora and the
Other Woman (1988),
pastel on paper, private
Dora and the other women as seen above is an example of Sipios historical paintings in the 1980’s. In 1987 she spent seven months in Paris during which she became fascinated with a hysteric named Ida Bauer or “Dora”. She had been analysed by a psychologist named Sigmund Freud. In this drawing Siopis casts Dora as herself and tries to find the hysteria behind the patient, she shows visualisation of a sort of resistance and rebellion against the patriarchy and unfairness of Paris at that time. She...
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