Joani Groenewald’s work takes a satirical stance against popular-culture and consumer culture as experienced from within a South African context.
In her latest series of works entitled The Seven Deadly Seductions, Groenewald is inspired by the religious concept of the seven deadly sins. The series humorously challenges the seductiveness of unethical behaviour, particularly within the framework of the current South African political environment. The pieces are personal interpretations and abstractions of form, material and colour and take a satirical stance against popular culture and the consumer-orientated lifestyle that so many South Africans have become accustomed to. They portray negative character traits as jewels, which confront the meaning of status symbols. The work challenges perceptions through the influential symbolic power of jewellery, specifically as a means to communicate identity and social status.
Groenewald views contemporary jewellery as a medium through which one can critically reflect upon one’s social and political environment. Her research and art interests are based on memory and narrative studies; questioning the stability of them, while also challenging the traditional function of jewellery, specifically in relation to a South African context. She continues to make art that feeds into and from these research interests.
Groenewald is a lecturer in the Visual Arts Department at the University of Stellenbosch, as well as a jewellery designer, goldsmith and artist. She sees her technical grounding, as a medium that allows her to create conceptual art. She graduated with a BA degree in Visual Art (with a focus on Creative Jewellery and Metal Design) from the University of Stellenbosch in 2009 where she later enrolled in the graduate training programme in 2010. During this time she worked as a goldsmith apprentice and eventually qualified as a goldsmith in 2011. In March 2015 she successfully completed her MA degree in Visual Arts from the University of Stellenbosch with distinctions. She has been a participant in numerous national and international contemporary jewellery exhibitions throughout her entire career in the jewellery industry.
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