Plein air landscape painting of Western Cape scenery by artist Niël Jonker | Contemporary South African art | Artisan baking with sourdough.

Niël Jonker
YouTube Video

"Thank you Mark Wilby of Climax Films for capturing an idea of what it feels like painting Walker Bay, and Grootbos Private Nature Reserve for providing the location and footage."

Jonker works and exhibits prolifically. He exhibits throughout South Africa in galleries and at festivals such as the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival and he Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Since embarking on a full time art career in 2004 he has established a cohesive body of oil paintings in various genres, mainly plein air landscape painting, and figurative bronze sculpture which was his training.

Curriculum Vitae

Born in 1971, Niel Jonker has been a full-time artist since 2005, and is a trained sculptor who paints prolifically en plein-air, and facilitates artisanal breadmaking training.

2018 Land art: Tankwa Artscape, Stonehenge Private Nature Reserve
Solo: “Heroes of resistance” NAF, Grahamstown
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
2017 Solo: “Hybrida” Breytenbach Centre, Wellington
Solo: NAF, Grahamstown
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
2016 Public: Stellenbosch 360, Stellenbosch
Solo: KKNK, Oudtshoorn
Land art: Global Nomadic Art Project
Solo: NAF, Grahamstown
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
2015 Public: Stellenbosch 360, Stellenbosch
Solo: KKNK, Oudtshoorn
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
Group: Magicus, D-Street Gallery, Stellenbosch
Solo: KKNK, Oudtshoorn
Solo: "The Artisan" Hermanus Fynarts
Solo: "Fire-face" Grahamstown National Arts Festival
Public: Design and crafting of masks and props: “The Magic Shell”Jungle Theatre, Cape Town.
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
2013 Group: Prototype, D-Street Gallery, Stellenbosch
Site_Specific Land Art Bienalle, Plettenberg Bay
Group: "Homosapien" KZNSA, Durban
Solo: "Grondhervorming" KKNK, Oudtshoorn
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
2012 Solo: KKNK, Oudtshoorn
Commission: National Heritage Project
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
2011 International Land Art Bienalle, Plettenberg Bay.
Solo: KKNK, Oudtshoorn
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route
2010 Solo: KKNK, Oudtshoorn
Commission: Bronze trophy, Cape Epic MTB Cycle Race
Group: Summer Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, Baardskeerdersbos
Group: Woordfees, Stellenbosch
Solo: KKNK, Oudtshoorn
2009 Group: Summer Salon, Hout Street Gallery, Paarl
Group: 41st Summer Exhibition, Strydom Gallery, George
Group: Summer Exhibition, Stanford Galleries, Stanford
Group: Gala Exhibition, Walker Bay Gallery, Hermanus
Group: Oudebrug Gallery, Elgin
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, Baardskeerdersbos
Group: "Foundrymans Choice", Cultivaria Festival, Paarl
Two-man: "Solitude", Kraalstudio, Pretoria
Group: Klein Karoo Klassique, Oudtshoorn
Solo: "The Fountain", McGregor
Group: "Dawid´s Choice" Gallery Red Black and White, Stellenbosch
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, Baardskeerdersbos
Solo: "Terroir" KKNK, Oudtshoorn
Group: "Presence", Off the Wall Gallery, Lourensford Wine Estate, Somerset West
2008 Solo: "Pause", Prince Albert Gallery, Prince Albert
Group: "Stilte", KKNK, Oudtshoorn, (curated and exhibited)
Group: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Gansbaai
Group: Steenbokslaagte, Lamberts Bay
Group: "Expression", Carol Lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
Solo: Hilton Arts Festival, Pietermaritzburg
Group: "Metaphor", Carol Lee Fine Art, Johannesburg
Group: Oudebrug Gallery, Elgin
Two-man: "B-Bos Boys", Missions House Gallery, Onrust, Hermanus
Group: Summer Salon, Strydom Gallery, George
Solo: Lomond Wine Estate, Gansbaai
Solo: Baardskeerdersbos Art Route, Baardskeerdersbos
Solo: Hermanuspietersfontein Cellar, Hermanus
2007 Two-man: "Binnestebuite", KKNK, Oudtshoorn, (curated and exhibited)
Solo: Volksblad Fees, Bloemfontein
Solo: Hilton Arts Festival, Pietermaritzburg
2006 Two-man: "Twee Skilders" Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, Oudtshoorn
"Kunskoop", facilitated and initiated a panel discussion of six leading gallerists, curators, and art dealers, KKNK, Oudtshoorn.
1995-2005 Facilitated and curated annual exhibitions of other artists at KKNK, Oudtshoorn. Worked in the export industry for a decade, manufacturing ostrich leather and managing an ostrich feather sorting plant.
1994 Solo: "Ten sculptors" ICA, Johannesburg
Group: "Klein Karoo Group" Oudtshoorn
1993 Graduated with distinctions in painting and sculpture from Technikon Natal, Durban.
1991 Awarded the most promising student award from Foundation Art School, Cape Town, presented by Judith Mason.
1988 Matriculated from Oudtshoorn High School with a distinction in art.
1971 Born and grew up on a farm in the Little Karoo district of Oudtshoorn, South Africa.

Portfolio (past favourites)

"Observing Niël Jonker´s work is engaging with art which is made by a person who can
see, and a painter who can paint."
[Carin Goodwin: February 2008]

To engage with art is to enter into a cycle of energy and light which comes from and returns to the creative universe. We can see light which comes from the universe illuminating the ever changing landscapes within which we live. This same light can be seen in the objects of our everyday experience. And it is this same light, this creative energy which enters the soul of the artist to be moulded and sculpted into various art forms. A work of art which holds this light becomes a symbol of our experience of the universe. It is through the viewer engaging with art that this energy is released back to the universe to complete the creative cycle. Whether as artist or viewer, we can encounter here one of the greatest experiences of being human - an intimate connectedness to the creative universe.

The artist Neil Jonker is surrounded in his everyday life by the abundant light and creativity of the rural landscape. The small hamlet of Baardskeerdersbos where he lives, lies in the Overberg area of the Western Cape, South Africa. It lies amongst rolling hills and mountains which stretch beneath open skies to the coast-line of Walker Bay. There is a whole lot in the air which smacks of the creative marriage of nature and human endeavour as can be experienced in Provence or Tuscany - from the extraordinary natural light playing across the landscape, to the celebration of country values in the communal life of a rural village. Here ideas are given time and warmth to rise like the yeast in a good farm bread or plaasbrood. This bread, baked also by Jonker himself, is best shared warm and steaming with a good glass of wine and robust company, sitting on a wide voor-stoep or verandah taking in the view and the country air. Even as terroir enters the soul of a good bottle of wine, so too in the soul of the artist. Within the cycle of creativity, to engage with Jonker's art is to experience something of this sensual country lifestyle (without having to brave the veld-fires and muddy roads and mosquitoes for yourself!).

Growing up in ostrich-farming community of Oudtshoorn, Niel Jonker is the son of an ostrich farmer and school teacher. From his youth, he has always shied away from the attention provoked by his talent, seeking solace in the endless wonders contained in nature.