Artist opens up about burn trauma: ‘There’s a person behind the scars’ by Ross Michaels

It’s been 15 years since Aniek Nieuwenhuis’ life changed forever in the blink of an eye.

Aniek, a child at the time, and her family had been holidaying near Kleinmond in the Western Cape in March 2004 when a faulty connection on a gas cylinder sparked a fire. Aniek suffered 95% burns while her dad, Paul, suffered 40%.

Though doctors gave her just a 20% chance of survival, today she’s a self-confident young woman who doesn’t let the scars on her face determine her outlook. 

Now, she’s using her artistic talent to tell the story of her trauma. Her exhibition Skin Deep is on at Gallery One11 in Cape Town until 9 March.

“My message is that there’s a normal person behind the scars. 

There’s a normal young woman who’d lived through a tough time, and that one should look past it or find a way to see through it,” says Aniek (23), who graduated with a degree in visual arts from UCT’s Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2017. 

Aniek uses self-representation in her photographic art and explains her work is an outlet for emotions she used to suppress.

“I want to make people aware of the challenges – how hard it is to walk around knowing you look different to other people and you don’t know how others will react. I want to provide insight into trauma and hope, and inspire people,” the young artist says.

German artist SaySay.Love (56), who’s presenting the exhibition, decided to collaborate with Aniek because he feels there’s a special synergy between his art and hers.

“The images I’ve created for this project come from a raw place,” says Say Say.Love, who was born without the ability to see in 3D and is partially blind in his right eye.

The project is an exploration of “the uncanny valley separating the visceral experience and the unbridled expression of our innermost fears and desires”, he says. 

“Aniek’s ability in expressing herself through deep alchemical dreaming shines through in her art.”

The proceeds from SaySay.Love’s artworks at Skin Deep will be donated to the Make A Difference (MAD) Leadership Foundation, thanks to whose scholarship Aniek was able to study at UCT. 

Written by Ross Michaels for News 24

The Politics of Sex: Malcolm Dare

Often the way a person sees themselves sexually might not be the way others would expect. A person that should have no reason to feel inadequate about their body or sexuality might still feel insecure. I felt it necessary to produce the work having worked in the commercial photographic world for many years and the stereotypical point of views that it projects needs to be addressed.

Malcolm Dare, 2018. 


How do you feel these specific narratives can be better approached in Creative sectors and how do you feel the public view (i.e advertising sectors) currently approaches such conversations?

MD: The discussion around sexuality and body consciousness needs to be approached in a more open manner. The more these narratives are  pushed behind closed doors or seen as taboo the less chance we as a society will be able to deal with the current problems we encounter. As a society we are mainly exposed to a very narrow and distorted perception of sexuality, through advertising, films and media.  

Malcolm Dare Profile Link:

The Disquiet,  Malcolm Dare, Hahnemühle on Photo Rag, 1100 x 860 x 40 mm, Price On Request.

The Disquiet, Malcolm Dare, Hahnemühle on Photo Rag, 1100 x 860 x 40 mm, Price On Request.

The Politics of Sex: Lizza Littlewort

In the constant global feminist debate about patriarchy, there is a lot of discussion about the privileged position of patriarchy being blind to the reality women experience. This painting brings that to the fore., as it reflects a man interacting sexually with his own reflection, with the woman elided from the composition. 

The Man In The Mirror,  2018, Lizza Littlewort, Oil on Aluminium, 800 x 600 each, Price On Request.

The Man In The Mirror, 2018, Lizza Littlewort, Oil on Aluminium, 800 x 600 each, Price On Request.

The Politics of Sex: Philipp Pieroth

Sex can be constructive and healing. Sex can be destructive and hurting.
Everyone wants sex, needs sex- the whole world revolves around sex. We see it everywhere
in the internet, in all kinds of media, in the arts, in public spaces, but how much do we actually
understand of it?

In the moment we connect with each other. Take in someones energy and
give our energy to someone. It is a rather spiritual act. Most people live in
denial of that. Sex is often used a tool of power and control. It is used to uplift confidence. It
is used to overcome trauma. It is used to compensate. It is used. Shouldn’t it be free of that?

Theres a lot of guilt and shame in sex and its perception in our society. Sex should be free of all of that and liberated.

Link to Philipp Pieroth Biography:

Dog In Me,  Philipp Pieroth, Mixed Media on canvas, 1230 x 830 mm, Price on Request. 2017. 

Dog In Me, Philipp Pieroth, Mixed Media on canvas, 1230 x 830 mm, Price on Request. 2017. 

The Politics of Sex: Su Opperman

The Politics of Sex: a Group Exhibition at Gallery One11 commences on First Thursdays 07 June in Loop Street. The exhibition provides an introspective view in the topic of sex presented by 9 Contemporaries.Through the use of our media channels and our gallery space we hope to further disclose the intentions, thoughts and common threads (or diffientations) between each artist's submissions and observations. 

The first artist we would like to feature is Su Opperman, a new contemporary local to Cape Town with extensive experience in comic and illustrative work as well as newly developed large scaled paintings. 

' The Mystic Hoer was created to represent my most bestial, instinctive self. It's interesting when it comes to female sexuality, liberation in subversive comics is often expressed through blatant sexualisation and exposure of the female form. Probably due to years of repression and the still pervading expectations of how woman should behave in society. The character of the Mystic Hoer originated out of an experience of misogyny. Later she came to express misogyny in gay culture in particular, which has a brand of pervasiveness all its own, and lastly she looks at what its like to be a woman with a sex drive.' 

How do you feel sexuality can be better approached in Creative sectors and how do you feel the public view or i.e advertising sectors currently approaches such conversations?

As always, in advertising sex sells, and pop culture is rarely a space for nuance. Sex has, however, become less of a taboo subject, but I find all the conversations extremely PC. Except from the fascistic tendencies of the left, where satire has died, and as an artist, if you draw this, or if you draw that, you're either a homophobe or a racist, etc. I suppose sex as subject matter will always have a dual nature of being either a point of contestation or a  titillation. Which, from an artist's perspective is a great space to play in, so, society should become less precious and if you dont like it, then just don't look at it.' 

Find out more about Su here:

The Politics of Sex Event:

The exhibition will be open to the public and will share content of a sensitive nature; we will not be permitting persons under the age of 18 to enter the gallery and we ask that all enquiries may be submitted to the gallery via email.  

A preview of ' Die Mystic Hoer'  by Su Opperman. Framed analogue illustration, 2018. 

A preview of 'Die Mystic Hoer' by Su Opperman. Framed analogue illustration, 2018. 

NJE Profile Feature: Silke Berens

As a Namibian-born artist of German descent, Berens’ (b. 1974) most recent solo exhibition, ´Brothers in Arms´ examined the perpetuation of the heroic soldier narrative spanning more than three generations of the artist’s family, with her grandfather, father and brother having served in the two world wars and most recently, the Liberation War fought on the northern borders of Namibia.

The artist is largely excluded from this narrative by nature of her gender and functions as observer and witness to the embodiment and enactment of the ‘noble warrior’ and ‘comrade’ archetype within the construct of warfare. She perceives both senselessness and absurdity in the much-extolled virtues supposedly achieved by participating in combat: Honour, glory, sacrifce to a greater cause and the compliance to time-honoured masculine norms such as manliness and patriotic duty. Prompted by the specifc experience of her brother’s active service as a conscripted medic in the South African Defence Force, fighting soldiers of the South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO), Berens reflects on the existential question: what value or meaning can possibly remain in warfare’s notions of brotherhood, courage and honour, when the outcome consists of hearts and minds irrevocably broken and damaged?

Berens is a teacher by profession and is currently studying towards a Psychology Honours degree at the University of Namibia. Since completing her fine art qualification, she has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows in South Africa, Namibia and Germany. Her work is represented in private, corporate and public collections in South Africa, Namibia, Germany, and England since 1998.

Berens works primarily in oil paints, from a source of personal experiences and contexts. Her artworks are typically marked by a tension between figuration and abstraction. The use of texture, layering, and intentional obliteration characterise a spontaneous and intuitive approach. She is currently employing mixed media to explore themes connected to the manifestation of trauma, by examining narratives of individual and collective memory and myth.


Installation from ‘Brothers in Arms’ (2017),  Silke Berens, Oil on paper and plastic tanks and trucks, NFS. 

Installation from ‘Brothers in Arms’ (2017), Silke Berens, Oil on paper and plastic tanks and trucks, NFS. 

Relics,  Silke Berens, Ink, collage & oils on watercolour paper, 410 x 540mm, framed R 6 720.00 excl. vat

Relics, Silke Berens, Ink, collage & oils on watercolour paper, 410 x 540mm, framed R 6 720.00 excl. vat

Collateral Damage,  Silke Berens, Ink, collage & oils on canvas, 500 x 700 mm, framed  R 10 080.00 excl. vat

Collateral Damage, Silke Berens, Ink, collage & oils on canvas, 500 x 700 mm, framed  R 10 080.00 excl. vat

NJE Collective Feature: Tuli Mekondjo

Born in Kwanza-Sul, Angola (b. 1982), Tuli Mekondjo is a self-taught artist based in Windhoek, Namibia. Mekondjo’s biography traces a significant trajectory through a particularly painful narrative in Namibia’s recent past. Unlike South Africa, Namibia has never recognised the need for a process of truth and reconciliation following its independence in 1990, and deep divisions, rooted in prejudice, fear and tribal loyalties still linger into the present. 28 years on, and ‘children born ‘in exile’ and the socalled ‘GDR-kids’ continue to be stigmatised and discriminated based on their ‘foreign’ status, as opposed to those who remained in the country during the struggle for independence.

Tuli-Mekondjo’s work is Janus-faced. It looks forward whilst looking backward. In it she records fragments of post- traumatic experiences brought upon by many disorders, displacements, both internal and physical. These traumas and their legacies are intergenerational carried from generation to generation and permanently logged within our systems: “for every new change our memories and mental mapping shift alongside in order to adapt. In so doing we look at the past to find the way forward, through the lines that our ancestors traced before us. The lines represent ancestors, roots of souls moulded from the soil, of their survival spirit which still beats like a pulse deep within our souls and the ground of the earth.”

She works consistently at her practice and is unafraid to experiment in different mediums, creating seemingly playful work, but which remains rooted in her particular identity as an Oukwanyama woman and research into her heritage. Her recent work mixes collage, paint, resin and mahangu meal - a Namibian food staple and extends into performance.

Tuli-Mekondjo exhibited photographs with the Collective at the Art Market Budapest in 2016 and also held a major solo show “The Bellowing Mind” at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre in 2016, described as ‘a very personal vision of the mind, trauma and unresolved pain’. Most recently, she has been involved in the Future Africa Visions in Time Exhibition: a collaboration between the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies, Iwalewahaus Bayreuth and the Goethe-Institut Namibia.

The Second Coming of Tate,  Tuli Mekondjo, 640 x 610 mm, R 4 900.00 excl. vat, 2018. 

The Second Coming of Tate, Tuli Mekondjo, 640 x 610 mm, R 4 900.00 excl. vat, 2018. 

NJE Collective Feature: Masiyaleti Mbewe

Masiyaleti Mbewe (Born January 23rd 1991 ) is a Zambian born afrofuturist writer, photographer, activist and curator based in Namibia. Her work explores the complex themes of race, sexuality, ableism and gender within their various intersections in the afrofuture.

Asteria,  Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017. 

Asteria, Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017. 

Tove Jeomba Kangotue Represnting for all Forms of Blackness,  Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017. 

Tove Jeomba Kangotue Represnting for all Forms of Blackness, Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017. 


Her debut solo exhibition, ‘The Afrofuturist Village’ was first showcased at the Goethe-Institut in Namibia under the FAVT (Future African Visions In Time) travelling exhibition in February 2018 and focused on queering and redirecting stereotypical views in the afrofuture in an effort to advocate for more inclusivity.

Mbewe, (from analytical view) critics the various respectability politics in afrofuturism that promote a very distinct heteronormative and intergalactical representation of black bodies. Instead of focusing on black people in space, the Afrofuturist Village aimed to showcase diverse African future-cultures within a space on earth that was inclusive of marginalized people i.e. the LGBTQIA+ community, disabled individuals as well as hearing and visually impaired people. 

Through the use of braille instillations, photography, video and sign-language interpretation, the Afrofuturist Village was a starting point for more inclusivity in afrofuturism. Drawing from a traditional African healing cleansing, the exhibition encouraged dialogue centered around healing, reconciling with our pasts and expanding the often monolithic ideas around blackness and spirituality in the afrofuture. 

Mbewe obtained her BA (Hons) in Journalism and English at the University of Namibia in 2016.  She has worked as a copywriter, journalist and photographer in Namibia for a number of years and aims to expand her future exhibitions around the same concepts in an effort to capture blackness in the afrofuture as diverse and equal.

Ericke: The Guardian , Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017.  

Ericke: The Guardian, Masiyaleti Mbewe, Digital Photograph, 2017.  

NJE Collective Feature: Jo Rogge


Jo Rogge’s (b.1963) art is an attempt to render and navigate highly intense emotive states, provoked by a world fraught with conflict. Conflicts surrounding the body, especially bodies in precarious positions, are central to her work.

 The human body, as a fragment or even as an idea, is used by Rogge as an intuitive language for deciphering and deliberating over our emotional lives and experiences. She uses the bodily form as a conduit for probing fundamental beliefs about gender, body politics, identity, and sexuality.

The act of drawing is a fundamental part of Rogge’s artistic process: it is almost always the starting point for her creations.Through her fluid renderings of bodily gendered expression, she calls into question the dichotomous notions of ‘male’ and ‘female’, challenges heteronormative assumptions, and creates a new crucible for queer voices. At the same time, she poses uncomfortable questions about difference and belonging.

Rogge lives and works between Namibia and South Africa. She is the founder of the NJE Collective, which facilitates informal mentorship between young, developing artists and their more established counterparts.

In September 2016, she received a grant from the Other Foundation to create a new body of work addressing identity, stigma and discrimination in the LGBTI community in Namibia. Rogge’s constant interrogation of the ‘Othered’ body has led her to a range of projects across the globe, working in diverse media. Rogge is also currently advisor and editor for the first-ever documentary film about young black transgender Namibians.” (Gunsandrain)

Three Lovers Are Better Than None,  Jo Rogge, Mixed Media, 2018. 

Three Lovers Are Better Than None, Jo Rogge, Mixed Media, 2018. 

Always In A Holding Pattern , JoRogge, Mixed Media, 2018. 

Always In A Holding Pattern, JoRogge, Mixed Media, 2018. 

Staying Afloat,  Jo Rogge, Mixed Media, 2018. 

Staying Afloat, Jo Rogge, Mixed Media, 2018. 

' Kusololwa Amumuni: To Be Led By Light ' a Solo Exhibition of paintings by Restone Maambo 

' Kusololwa Amumuni: To Be Led By Light

a Solo Exhibition of paintings by Restone Maambo 

Opened 25 January - 24 February 2018 at Gallery One11.

Traditional Healers, commonly known as the ' Sangoma' fulfill varied roles across communities in Southern Africa and beyond its borders. These roles can encompass healing and divination both physical and spiritual. Sangoma's direct rituals surrounding birth and death among others such as providing protection and are often considered as narrators of tradition and culture and are respected as such.

Restone Maambo, an experimental painter from Zambia explores his ancestry and experiences with regards to traditional healing and in particular plays homage to the process of awakening, known as ‘ Kusololwa Amumuni', a difficult but integral transition for those called to practice.

Maambo reflects a profound respect for the female traditional healer, reflecting her as a Matriarchal subject active in contemporary urban culture and ultimately as a carrier of vital tradition and value.

Maambo's usage of acrylic paint and varnish layering is lucid and reflective of spiritual meditative states, his works exalt his subject matter which is produced on a life-sized scale to better establish a strong relationship between the viewer and his chosen subjects. Techniques incorporated include traditional painting methodologies alongside new experimental materials such as plaster and cement applications- interactive antidotes which result in playful and experimental mark making on the Artists surface allowing for further investigation. Maambo's works are laden with layers of impasto paint and more recently, collage and mixed media. The compositions often mirror his respect and appreciation of the Feminine and the Divine, utilizing symbols and subject matter from everyday circumstance, the Old Testament and tradition carried from generations.

Maambo’s latest solo body of work ’Kusololwa Amumuni: To Be Led To Light' challenges the audience to negotiate one’s own association and connectivity to their ancestry, traditions, spirituality and the unlimited potential of the Divine.

Event Link:

About the Artist:

Restone Maambo was born in Zambia, in 1980. His aspirations to be a working artist led him to move to Cape Town to study further and he was awarded numerous prizes as he studied at Ruth Prowse. He graduated in 2008 and has since pursued his career, exhibiting at Ecclectica Contemporary; Gallery One11 and providing works towards Yellowoods Art Collection.

Profile Link:


Words by Megan Theunissen. 2018.




A: 111 Loop Street, Cape Town

T: +27662069493



An interview with Restone Maambo 22.01.2018

Gallery One11 chats to Restone Maambo in amidst of paper, canvases and paintbrushes in his temporary studio space at Side Street Studios. The Artist has been in production for 2 months creating an intimate body of work reflecting the Contemporary Sangoma- often reflected as the Matriarchal Woman carrying tradition and spiritual beliefs through local communities. 

One11: Tell us about your career, when did your career as an Artist begin?

RM: Professionally I can say it started in Livingstone, but I grew up as an Artist. I use to work with a lot of charcoal as well as crayons as a child. I was very active, I always too much for my Mum to handle so I just use to sit and draw in books and on paper. I use to illustrate cartoons mostly but was attracted by characters I saw n movies and that I could replicate from memory. 

One11 : Your work has has developed over the last 2 years, specifically we see more collage intergration and more mixed media intergration streeing from realism. Do you feel as if your methods have changed and how so? 

RM : I use to work with collage earlier in my career, it’s just a different approach I am utilizing now. I was just experimenting in studio and I accidentally peeled off one of the areas of paper I had already painted on and I liked the effects that were on that piece of that paper and what is left behind. Also I like the way acrylic dries on plastic, it’s easy to peel off that paint and I could see that there is always some beautiful areas that you create by experimenting. Using the paper is much easier to manipulate and you can tear it around and play with it. Collage is a technique that I have found to be more different. I was encouraged to do this from my time at Ruth Prowse. When you are an artist and you place yourself in a situation where you have to respond to what your work is saying, it’s a relationship between you and your work. I always try to respond to what my works are saying to me. 

One 11: Do you foresee any new methodologies being incorporated into your practice in the near future after your next upcoming projects?

RM: Nowadays it is so fascinating how we can utilize unusual materials to create something new, people’s imagination and creativity is just something that is so unpredictable sometimes, that is what we are looking for is to come across an everyday object and find a means to use it in a new way. There is much more techniques and methodologies in times to come, I look at the work of Abrahim (Mahama)  and how he works with the sacks, it’s something that I never thought anybody could create high valued work out of those. So to me that is how an Artist tests their ability. Next for me I hope to create large scaled installation. It will definitely be large scaled installative painting and am decided on the mediums. 

One11 : What is it about the Feminie and the Divine that you feel the need to reflect in your works?

RM : I am surrounded by women, but it’s much more than that I notice that as an Artist and it holds symbol and we can see far back in history of how women have been side lined and subjected. Painting these subjects encourages others to view the female in a new light. I am also from Christian and cultural back rounds and I hold certain beliefs about the female. In the scriptures when God speaks, he speaks of Isreal being a Woman. When He speaks of the Children of Isreal, it’s a symbolic figure.


Event Link:

'Kusololwa Amumuni: To Be Led By Light' a solo exhibition by Restone Maambo. 25 January - 24 February 2018. 

111 Loop Street Cape Town 8000.