The paintings and sculptures of South African-born artist Deon Venter is recognized and applauded both in his native country and internationally. His work questions common understandings about history and socio-political beliefs and examines the familiar in new mediums and terms. Much of his work addresses personal and universal issues of immigration and concepts of nationalism and belonging. His work is represented in numerous public and private collections internationally, including the National Art Museum of South Africa, the King George Art Museum of Port Elizabeth, the Canadian Department of External Affairs, and the Granite Club of Toronto.
Born in Despatch, Eastern Cape, South Africa, Venter immigrated to Vancouver, Canada in 1989 and much of his work in the 1990s addresses the issues surrounding this change. Even post-apartheid, Venter’s work reflects the part of his life spent in an environment where freedom of expression and human rights were greatly suppressed. The result is art that is challenging and invites varied interpretations of meaning: Venter will not tell the viewer overtly what is happening. His work ranges from complex painting and sculpture installations to small representative paintings. Many of his paintings reflect his training in sculpture, and are constructed like sculptures built on canvas.
In 1986 Deon Venter received the Hans Marensky National Sculpture Award in recognition of his impressive body of work, both in South Africa and internationally. His most recent exhibitions include important retrospectives at French Laundry in Montreal, and Buschlen Mowatt Galleries in Vancouver.