Paintings by Debbie Nodder


Debbie Nodder was born in Johannesburg in 1963. She trained as a teacher at the University of Cape Town and has spent the last twenty three years living and working in schools in Southern Africa. She began her formal art training through UNISA and then moved to Wits University where she graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Fine Art in April 2005. She then enrolled for her Masters degree in Fine Art in 2006. In August 2008 she exhibited her paintings in fulfilment of the practical component for this degree at the University of the Witwatersrand’s Substation gallery; her thesis “Images of Swazi women living with HIV” has been completed and she has obtained her Masters in Fine Arts.

Her paintings are site specific to the landscape of Swaziland and Mozambique. They focus on the frailty of life. The recent paintings have explored the physical manifestation of AIDS deaths in the natural environment. Through the media of both watercolour and oil paint she has explored the many variations of graves in the cemetery near her home on a Waterford Hill outside Mbabane, Swaziland. The graves are natural assemblages constructed by people out of granite rock, cement, red soil and other found objects. They speak about the connections and relationships between people and objects, they evoke remembrance and allow us to forget, they mark the threshold between death and life and they stand as reminders of a finite life but also recall spiritual matters.

Her sense of place is informed by her visual and sensual perceptions as well as by her memories, emotions, her personal mythology and associations. Her oil paintings are often overlaid by linear drawings made with oil bar. Some of these drawings are appropriated from the drawings of others. The visual metaphor of the palimpsest gives expression to the complexity of her relationship to the lived environment.

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