Gawie Joubert’s work is an exploration of his own identity. Though his ink and charcoal figures, the artist interweaves his understanding of himself in relation to nature and memory.
Joubert takes his cue from his childhood memories. The artist grew up in a small town on the North coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Here he began his adoration of nature. His parents educated him on fauna and flora and he fondly remembers spending countless hours playing, exploring, climbing and building forts in the forest.
Based on these early memories, the artist constructs charcoal figures that appear to be made of bark, twigs and leaves. These ethereal figures are a catalyst for his own identity. The artist interprets the fluid manner in which one’s identity is formed as vines – climbing and creeping over these figures. Much like personal identity, the growth and transformation of a plant is ever-changing. The use of items like feathers, mushrooms and plastic thoughts are inspired by flash memories from Joubert’s childhood. He believes that his adult identity was formed by these memories of experience from his childhood and they will always be embedded in him.
Nature and drawing is and has always been a form of escapism for Joubert. During his artistic process, he reminisces on childhood memories and feelings that are evoked when being in nature. The peaceful, happy and content moments of not being confined by anyone or any social structures. Since a young age, Joubert felt uneasy with a patriarchal construct of identity. Nature gave him the opportunity to escape from his inner conflicts around his own gender constructs.
Joubert has always seen nature as his biggest inspiration. A place where nature and humans connect and create a synergy between nature and humans. A place where imagination has no limits and the mundane resurrects into new magical beings.