The Life Of Jane Alexander Essay

1183 words - 5 pages

Jane Alexander was born in Johannesburg in 1959. From a very young age she started showing great artistic talent, and is now one of South Africa's most acknowledged sculptors. She studied at the University of Witwatersrand and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art degree in 1982. That same year, she was the winner of the National Fine Arts Student Competition as well as the Martienssen Student Prize. In 1988 she completed her Masters in Fine Art. She had initially started her degree majoring in painting, but eventually changed to sculpture as she found it much more appealing and realized that she was more suited to it. At university, Alexander was exposed to information about the political situation in South Africa through students' underground organizations and activities, and this contributed greatly to her work.When growing up in the suburbs, Alexander had been shielded from everyday police- and street violence. However, when she moved to city of Braamfontein in order to be closer to her university, she was faced with reality and was directly confronted with these aspects of society. At the same time, the political situation in the 1970's was changing, and black consciousness had become very noticeable - the 1976 Soweto uprising had been an eye-opener for many people. Despite the fact that Alexander, herself, was not politically active and did not contribute to the struggle in any way, her work was extremely influenced by the socio-political situation in South Africa at the time. Her work clearly responds to the violence in South Africa during these years, and because of this she is seen as one of West Coast African Angel, '85 the most important artists of the Resistance.After completing her degree, Alexander went to a school in Rehoboth, Namibia to teach English. She now lives in a flat in Long Street in the centre of Cape Town from where, on her balcony, she has a view of the old Cape architecture, as well as bookshops, antique stores and sex shops. In 1995 Jane Alexander was the winner of the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Fine Art. This award is given to people who are acknowledged as being important artists within the South African art scene. In 1996 she was the joint winner of the First National Bank Artist of the Year award with Kevin Brand. Probably her most famous piece, "The Butcher Boys, 1985", is in permanent exhibition at the South African National Gallery, and is the most popular contemporary piece in the collection. It was made while Alexander was still in the process of completing her Masters degree at Wits. In 1995, it was chosen by Jean Clair for his show "Identita e Alterita" ("Identity and Alterity") in the Palazzo Grassi at the Venice Biennale.Jane Alexander is currently the senior lecturer in sculpture, photography and drawing at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, the University of Cape Town. She also is the proud mother of a baby boy.Jane Alexander never gives any comment about her works, and therefore we have to...

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