Joani Groenewald

Joani Groenewald (1986) is a lecturer in the Visual Arts Department (VAD) at Stellenbosch University, where she also serves as the coordinator of the first-year program in Integrated Art and Design. She holds a Bachelor of Visual Art (Creative Jewellery and Metal Design) from the same institution, which she earned in 2009. After completing a two-year professional internship, she qualified as a goldsmith in 2011. In 2015, she received a Master of Visual Arts degree from Stellenbosch University. Currently, she is completing a Bilateral PhD from Hasselt University Faculty of Architecture and Arts MAD-Research, PXL-MAD School of Arts, Hasselt and Stellenbosch University.

In addition to her role as lecturer, Joani Groenewald is a member of the Department of Higher Education’s subcommittee panel for the evaluation of national creative research outputs. In this capacity, she contributes to the development and implementation of policies and processes that support and advance creative research in South Africa.

In her research, Joani explores the critical role that contemporary jewellery can play in reflecting on social and political environments. Her areas of interest are memory studies and translation in the context of South Africa. In her art she integrates her research into her creative practice and has participated in numerous national (South-Africa) and international (Germany, China, America, and Italy) contemporary jewellery exhibitions.

In 2018, she was awarded first place in the South African Contemporary Jewellery Awards, and in 2019, she was the runner up in the Jewellery category of the PPC Imaginarium Awards.

Research Statement:

My artistic journey unfolds at the intersection of art jewellery, translation studies, and a critical examination of the contemporary South African landscape. Within this realm, my fascination lies in the ability of translation to go beyond language, text, and two-dimensional representations, guiding us towards a three-dimensional, sensory, and experiential understanding.

In this creative exploration, I engage in a dialogue with the South African landscape, emphasising the need for more diverse translations thereof. Through excavating, collecting soil and other found materials (natural and man-made), and transforming these materials into jewellery and sculptural objects, I reflect on my relationship with my environment. In this regard my work serves as markers of place that promotes moments of contemplation on notions of belonging, place, and displacement in the South African landscape.

Joani Groenewald Excavation