Willie Bester ( 1956 -

 Willie Bester is regarded as one of our most important resistance artists. He incorporates recycled material into his paintings, assemblages and sculpture, usually commenting on political injustices and human rights issues of the day.

Born 1956, Montagu, Cape

Studies :
1986 Community Arts Project, Cape Town
1991 Full-time professional artist
No formal art training : Mostly self-taught
Solo Exhibitions: (info. provided by www.vgallery.co.za)
1982 Forum, Cavendish Square, Cape Town
1991 Gallery International, Cape Town
1992 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
Millpark, Port Elizabeth
1993 South African Association of Art, Cape Town
1994 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
1998 Emporain, Dakar
1999 Opere Recenti, Studio d'Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy
Archivio Della Scuola Romana, Introdotto da Achille Bonito Oliva, Roma, Italy
ARTE FIERA, Torino
ARTE FIERA, Bolongna
2000 Arte Assortite,  Torino 
2001 Brussels Contemporary Center, Belgium
Grahamstown Featured artist
Goodman Gallery,  Johannesburg
2002 SASOL Museum,  Stellenbosch
2003 Studio d'Arte Raffaelli, Trento, Italy
2005 34 Long, Cape Town
Group Exhibitions:
1989 Baxter Gallery, Cape Town
1990 Gallery International, Cape Town
1990 Institute for African Studies, University of Cape Town
1990 Jacobs & Liknaitsky Gallery, Cape Town
1991 Operation Hunger Exhibition, Cape Town
1991 Dorp Street Gallery, Stellenbosch
1991 Gallery International, Cape Town
1991
 - 1992
ZABALAZA FESTIVAL, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. ( This exhibition traveled to London and other British centres and was subsequently shown in South Africa at the S.A. National Gallery, Cape Town)
1992  Primart Gallery, Cape Town
1993 Venice Biennale, INCROCI DEL SUD : An exhibition of works by 27 contemporary South African Artists
1993
 - 1994
INCROCI DEL SUD,  Stedelijk Museum,  Amsterdam
1994 UN ART CONTEMPORIAN D'AFRIQUE DU SUD, Galerie De L'Esplanade, La Defence, Paris
1994 UN ART CONTEMPORIAN D'AFRIQUE DU SUD, Galerie De Ballens, Ballens, Switzerland
1994 HEIMAT PROJECT, Grahamstown Art Festival
1994 Stallion Gallery, Kentucky, USA
1994 5th Havana Biennale, Cuba
1994 Art Salon at The Bay, Camps Bay, Cape
1994 Ludwig Forum, Aachen, Germany
1994 CENTRO DE ARTE MODERNO, Las Palmas
1995 DIALOGUES OF PEACE, Exhibition for the UN's 50th Anniversary, Palaise Des Nations, Geneva
1995 Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London
1995 Africa '95 Festival, London
1995 Art Salon at The Bay, Camps Bay, Cape
1995 De Kleur van Verandering Exhibition, The Hague, Netherlands
1996 Chicago Art Fair, Chicago, USA
1996 Basel Art Fair, Basel, Switzerland
1996 Simunye ( we are one ) exhibition, Adelson Gallery, New York
1996 Tradition in Tradition, October Gallery, London
1996 Contemporary Art from South Africa, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
1996 Contemporary S.A. Art 85 - 95, South African National Gallery, Cape Town
1996  South African Art to Atlanta, City Gallery East, Atlanta, USA
1996 OTRO PAIS : ESCALAS AFRICANAS, Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona
1996 The other journey ( Africa and the Diaspora), Kunsthalle, Krems, Austria
1996 Seven Artists from South Africa, Boumani Gallery, San Francisco
1997 Galleria d'Art Moderna e Contemporanea di San Marino, San Marino
1997 Lift Off, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
1997 South Africa, Kohn Turner Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
1997 Not Quite a Xmas Show, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg
1997 Art Salon, The Bay Hotel, Caps Bay
1998 Biennale de l'Art Contemporian,  Dakar, Senegal
1998 The Edge of Awareness, World Health Organization, Geneve, Switzerland, New York, Soa Paulo, New Delhi
1998 Still our Land, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, joint with Zwelethu Mthethwa
1998 Project Conflux, Tendances Mikado Gallery, Luxembourg
1998 Project Conflux, Hotel de Ville, Dijon, France
1998 Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town
1999 Art Salon, Bay Hotel,  Cape Town
1999 Rewind/Fast Forward, Van Reekum Museum of Modern Art, Appeldoorn, Netherlands
1999 Claiming Art Reclaiming Space, National Museum of African Art, Washington DC.
1999 Studio d'Arte Raffaelli,  Trento, Italy
1999 Artery, Joao Ferreira Fine Art, Cape Town
2000 Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art,  New York
2000 Project Conflux, Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town
2001 Barcelona Contemporary Cultural Center, Spain
2001 Studio d'Arte Raffaelli,  Trento, Italy
2002 Centro Culturale "Trevi", Bolzano
2002 Sculpture Biennale,  Spier Estate, Stellenbosch
2002 National Art Gallery of Malaysia
2002 King George VI Art Gallery, Port Elizabeth 
2003 Suidoos Festival, Peninsula Techikon, Cape Town
2003 'Coexistence- Contemporary Cultural Production in South African' Rose Art Museum, USA
2004 Dublin Exhibition
10 Years - Klein Karoo Arts Festival, Outshoorn
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Charleroi, Belgium
Exhibition and auction of reworked milk-cans, Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town
' The ID of South African Artists ',  Amsterdam, exhibition accompanying the musical, The Lion King
' Africa Remix ', Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf
Two Man Show,
Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town
Iwalewa-Haus, Afrikazentrum der Universität Bayreuth, Bayreuth – Germany
Association for Visual Arts, Cape Town 
2004-06 Africa Screams – The Evil and the Uncanny in Cinema and Art
(Travelling exhibition)
Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna – Austria 
Kunstverein Aalen, Aalen - Germany 
Museum der Weltkulturen Frankfurt, Frankfurt – Germany
2005 ' Africa Remix ', Hayward Gallery, London
' Africa Remix ', Centre Pompidou, Paris
African Art Now : Masterpieces from the Jean Pigozzi Collection
Museum of Fine Art Houston Houston - USA 
Arts of Africa, Grimaldi Forum, Monaco - France
2006 ' Africa Remix ', Mori Art Museum, Tokio
Awards:
1991 Merit Prize : Cape Triennial
1992 Prix De L'Aigle, 4th Grand Prix International D'Arts Plastiques de la Vlille de Nice,  France 
2003 Honorary medal for promotion of Fine Arts: Suid Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns
2004 Order of the Disa, Members Class, Government of South Africa
2006 The Order of Ikhamanga, Silver - Government of South Africa
Represented:
SASOL Limited, Johannesburg
South African National Gallery, Cape Town
Johannesburg Art Gallery
King George VI Gallery, Port Elizabeth
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
University of the Western Cape, Cape Town
University of South Africa, Pretoria
Department of National Education, Pretoria
Department of Foreign Affairs, Pretoria
Cape of Good Hope Bank, Cape Town
Rembrandt Van Rijn Collection, Stellenbosch
South African Breweries Collection, Johannesburg
South African Broadcasting Corporation ( SABC TV ), Cape Town
South African Broadcasting Corporation ( SABC TV ), Johannesburg
SANLAM, Cape Town
WOOLTRU, Cape Town
MTN Collection,  Cape Town
ENGEN, Cape Town
METROPOLITAN LIFE, Cape Town
Human Science Research Council, Cape Town
Cape Provincial Libraries, Cape
Foschini Ltd. Parow, Cape
GENCOR S.A., Johannesburg
Durban Art Gallery, Durban
Tatham Art Gallery, Pietermaritzburg
Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria
Contemporary African Art Collection, Paris
Vodacom, Cape Town
Smithsonian Inst. USA
Oceana Fishing Group, Cape Town
NASPERS, Cape Town
Zonnebloem Art Collection, Stellenbosch
DE BEERS Collection, Johannesburg
BOE Bank, Cape Town

Willie's work is also in numerous private collections in South Africa and abroad.
 
Publications: (info. provided by www.vgallery.co.za)
BERMAN, E.,  1993. PAINTING IN SOUTH AFRICA. Page 363.  Halfway House, Transvaal : Southern Book Publishers.  ( ISBN 1-86812-345-6 )

BOGATZKE, H.,  BROCKMANN, R.,  LUDSZUWEIT, C. 2000.  ONDAMBO - African Art Forum. Page 30 - 49, Page 174 - 177.  Gamsberg Macmillan Publishers ( Pty ) Ltd. ( ISNB 99916-0-211-9 ) 

FRANK, H.  &  D'AMATO, M.,  1999. LIBERATED VOICES, Contemporary art from South Africa. Page 27.  New York, London, Prestel, Munich : The Museum of African Art. (  ISBN 3-7913-2195-1 ) 

KONATE, Y.,  2001. WILLIE BESTER. Bruxelles : Centre D'Art Contemporain

LITTLEFIELD KASFIR, S.,  1999. CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART. Page. 159 -161. London :  Thames & Hudson. (  ISBN 0-500-20328-8 ) 

MAGNIN, A. & SOULILLOU, J.,  1996. CONTEMPORARY ART OF AFRICA.  Pages 155 - 156, Page 158. New York & London :  Thames a Hudson.
( ISBN 0-500-01713-1 )

RANKIN, E.,  1994. IMAGES OF METAL,  Post-War Sculptures and Assemblages in South Africa. Pages 89 - 92.  Johannesburg :  Witwatersrand University Press, University of Witwatersrand Art Galleries. ( ISBN 1 86814 257 4 )

WILLIAMSON, S.  &  JAMAL, A.,  1996. ART IN SOUTH AFRICA - THE FUTURE PRESENT.  Pages 134 - 139. Claremont, South Africa :  David Philip Publishers ( Pty ) Ltd. (  ISBN 0-86486-321-7 )

 
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