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Juanita Oosthuizen

Juanita Oosthuizen was born in Calvinia and grew up in the Cape Platteland. From an early age, she experimented creatively with paper, cloth, and plastic – questioning, directing, observing – never settling for that which she found aesthetically displeasing.

In the 1990s she joined a corporate gifts company and was responsible for their packaging design. During this time, and after a visit to Europe, she discovered sheet polypropylene and used it successfully in packaging.

In 1998 she started her own company – Pepper Plum Designs – manufacturing and designing for the corporate and retail markets using mainly PVC and sheet polypropylene. Her designs included stationery and household items, and she regularly exhibited new designs and products with Design Indaba.

Since 2013 she has been working as a professional Artist and creating minimalist works, capturing time and its experience. Juanita is today inspired to incorporate miniature figures into her works of art – placing them in a carefully planned scenario fashioned from board to paper. This is mounted in a box frame to create a 3D environment. She works mostly in black, white and grey, sometimes introducing a smattering of colour to create an element of surprise. When she composes a piece, she finds herself instinctively drawn to depict something surreal, wistful, pensive and sometimes playful.

At times, the Artist uses old photographs as a backdrop to the figurines, to create an element of nostalgia and tender memory.
Recently Juanita has introduced paper weaving as another artistic medium. She enjoys the process of weaving and love the texture of the final image. The process is challenging not to disturb and distort the picture - but so that it is still recognisable. The new woven image is unique – “broken but healed”.

Juanita’s work varies from playful to serious and emotional, with the subject matter telling a story through the body language or interaction of the figurines. The artist creates a space for the spectator to make his or her own interpretation.
She finds inspiration everywhere – in nature, in daily life, in the city, in books on illustration, photography and design.

Juanita Oosthuizen is currently showing some of her art at The Artists Gallery in Cape Town and Franschhoek.

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