Artist of the Month: Johara Hartley

My work has a broad range of subject matter, as I chop, change and adapt, both outwardly and inwardly.   As a young woman, I find my way in the art world by playfully and consciously creating space, rooting myself in a style for a period of time, until I must move again. This notion of change guides my work and more importantly, my process.

I have fallen in love with shapes and space. The style I have arrived at, for now, began with my interest in anatomy, my personal metaphor for what is ‘underneath’. I started studying the human musculoskeletal system. I found beauty in the float and emotive structure. I soon realized that this perspective of form was not limited to female bodies, but to everyday objects, faces and scenes as well. I transferred these sketches onto canvas with paint, paper with ink and watercolour and eventually walls with spray techniques and bigger brushes. I play with sculpting 3D objects to translate my observation of the inner self. The space between my shapes represents the cracks of consciousness through which we get glimpses of the hidden.

The skin and physicality around us do not hold us, truly. It is a mistake to be built or broken by it because it is fickle and we are not to hold onto the meaning society has given it over all these years- not our bodies, and not our belongings. The lives I choose to represent in my art are symbolic, whether it is a Honey bee being a symbol of oneness and community or an Iris holding meaning.

Link to Johara’s blog:

About the artist:

Johara is a self-taught artist currently based in Cape Town. Her work revolves around consciousness, space and inner-meaning. She draws her inspiration from her history, heritage and community.