Wim Botha

Botha is known for his questioning of symbolism linked to religion, power structures and history, as well as for the use of various mediums such as maize, books and charcoal.

After having received the Helgaard Steyn Award in Bloemfontein, on 26 November 2013, Wim Botha remarked: “It is difficult to imagine that such an award exists. It is wonderful and I am sincerely grateful. An award like this can have a crucial impact on an artist’s life and work. I hope to apply it the best I can.”

Botha obtained his B.A. Degree (Fine Arts) in 1996 from the University of Pretoria. Since 1995 he has exhibited locally and internationally. He currently lives in Kommetjie near Cape Town.


2003 Prints (2003) and Speculum (Cape Town)

2004 Mnemonic Reconstruction

2005 Cold Fusion: Gods, heroes and martyrs (Cape Town)

2005-6 A Premonition of War (touring exhibition)

2006-7 Calamity and Tête d’un homme on South African Art Now (Cape Town)

2007 Rorschach (After Velázquez) on Afterlife (Cape Town)

2007 Apocalagnosia (Cape Town)

2007-8 Small God Vitrine on Summer 2007/8 (Cape Town)

2008 New Works (Johannesburg)

2008 Generic Self-portrait as an Exile and Generic Self-portrait as a Heretic by Disguise (Cape Town)

2009 Joburg Altarpiece & Amazing Things from Other Places (Cape Town)

2011 New Works (Johannesburg) 

2011 All This (Cape Town)

2011-12 Fuse by What we talk about when we talk about love (Cape Town)

2012 A Thousand Things (Johannesburg)

2013 Solipsis V (Sasol Art Museum)

2013 Maquettes for Blastwave on The Loom of the Land (Johannesburg)

2013 Prism 8 on A Sculptural Premise (Cape Town)

2014 Linear Perspectives (Cape Town)

Botha’s work has featured at international group exhibitions, including Imaginary Fact: South African Art and the Archive, the South African Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013); The Rainbow Nation, Museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague (2012); the Göteborg Biennial, Sweden (2011); Memories of the Future: The OlbrichtCollection, La Maison Rouge, Paris (2011); the 11th Triennale für Kleinplastik, Fellbach, Germany (2010); Peekaboo: Current South Africa, Tennis Palace Art Museum, Helsinki (2010); Olvida Quien Soy – Erase me from who I am, Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (2006); the seventh edition of Dak’Art, the Dakar Biennale (2006); the touring exhibition Africa Remix (2004 – 2007).

Wim Botha’s work is included in the 2014 touring exhibition, The Divine Comedy, opening at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, and Lichtspiele at Museum Biedermann, Donaueschingen, Germany. He also held a solo exhibition at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown 2014. 

Previous awards

2003 The first Tollmann Award

2005 Standard Bank Young Artist 



ABSA Bank, South Africa; BHP Billiton, Australia; Gordon Schachat Collection; Johannesburg Art Gallery; Nedbank, Johannesburg; Rand Afrikaans University; Spier Collection, South Africa; Sasol Art Collection, South Africa; South African Broadcasting Corporation; South African Reserve Bank; Standard Bank, South Africa; University of Pretoria.

Botha completed the sculpture group Blastwave, consisting of four big trees, as a commission piece for the Nedbank Headquarters (Phase 2) in Sandton, Johannesburg. The steel construction, covered with black lacquer meranti wood, shows the cycled nature of development and change. Reference is seen to Pierneef’s acacia trees and the former British premier Harold Macmillan’s speech about the “winds of change” in 1960.

There are several conceptual considerations embedded in the work, some of which relate to South Africa as a place, a country; others to the history and heritage. The judges praised Botha for his conceptual approach, especially of concern for post-colonialism in South Africa, and his technical expertise.

Other considerations relate to the building itself, and the design and flow realised by its design, in addition to an oblique reference to one of the commissioned art-works in Phase I [the work of Willem Boshoff, which refers to names of wind in relation to financial and market forces]. In this way the idea of wind is already established in the building as a whole.

Botha is known for his questioning of symbolism linked to religion, power structures and history, as well as for the use of various mediums such as maize, books and charcoal.

Blastwave (2010), black lacquered meranti wood over steel armature, h 650 – 800cm; w 300 – 450cm; d 400 – 550cm 
NEDBANK Headquarters, Sandton, Johannesburg

Photos courtesy of STEVENSON, Cape Town