Academy taps TUT Art lecturer’s expertise

2 February 2021

Yet another honour has befallen the Tshwane University of Technology’s Dr Jan van der Merwe, celebrated artist and lecturer at the Faculty of Arts & Design’s Department of Fine & Studio Arts. Dr van der Merwe has been asked to serve on the esteemed Commission for Visual Arts of the South African Academy for Science and Art (Suid Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns) until 2023.

Dr Jan van der Merwe will serve on the Commission for Visual Arts of the South African Academy for Science and Art (Suid Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns).

The Commission converges annually to advise the Academy on matters relating to the visual arts and, in particular, on the following: the Medal of Honour for Visual Arts (which includes fine arts, sculpture, weaving, ceramics, mosaic, photography, advertising, animation films, video art installation work, and related art forms); the Stalsprize for Art Science and Art History; recommendations for new members to serve on the Academy; and recommendations of subjects and themes for lectures to be presented at general symposiums of the Academy.   

As a multi-disciplinary organisation, the aims of the Academy are the advancement of science, technology, the arts, as well as the use and quality of the Afrikaans language.

Other members of the Commission are Prof John Botha (Chairperson) (NWU), Nicholas Clarke (Delft University, The Netherlands), Prof Alex Duffey (UP), Prof  Amanda du Preez (UP), Prof Suzanne Human (UFS), and Josef van Wyk (UFS).

Dr van der Merwe says it is a huge honour to serve on the Commission, as well as to work alongside a panel of colleagues in the Academy and Arts sector for which he has the utmost respect, especially for their contribution to the Arts.

Last year, the Academy launched a new book, Die Kunsversameling van die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (The Art collection of the South African Academy for Science and Arts) of its impressive art collection of foremost South African artists. Dr der Merwe’s work is also included in the book.

Working primarily in rusted metal, Dr van der Merwe has developed a language that speaks subtly, yet eloquently, of the vulnerability and transient aspects of life. 

He is known for his thought-provoking installations in which he incorporates found objects with rusted tins. His work has been exhibited internationally, and he is regarded in such high esteem that his art and methodology form part of the prescribed South African art curriculum for school learners and tertiary students.

In addition, he plays a major mentoring role at the Faculty of Arts & Design, and, as a result, has seen many of his students make great strides in the art world. 

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