David Brits is an interdisciplinary, multi-medium artist based in Cape Town. Born in 1987 he graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art (Painting) at the University of Cape Town in 2010. His practice spans printmaking, drawing and video. He has, over the past two years, devoted his time solely to formal investigations in public-scale sculpture. His first major public sculpture commission was launched at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, Masiphumelele in 2019.
Brits’ recent solo exhibitions include Sketches for the Cathedral of Johannesburg, held in 2016 at HAZARD Gallery in Johannesburg, and Snake Man, at SMITH Gallery, Cape Town, in 2015. Snake Man was a meditation on family histories in the context of pre-democratic South Africa and pays homage to the artist’s grandfather, one of the country’s top herpetologists and snake catchers from the 1950ies to the 1970ies.
In 2014 Brits was awarded a residency at the St. Moritz Art Academy, Switzerland, where he was mentored by Marcel van Eden and Daniele Buetti. Recent group shows include Words curated by Willem Boshoff at the Nirox Sculpture Park, Johannesburg, Nevermind the M*ss at A SPACE, Helsinki, Kindergeburtstag, held at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. His work has featured in the academic journal Graduate Research and Reviews in the History of Art and Visual Culture (2015) and has been named as a “young artist to watch” by the South African Art Times.
Brits made his curatorial debut with Not My War, an exhibition held at the Michaelis Galleries, UCT. This acclaimed show brought together works by significant South African artists that have reflected on their country’s involvement in border wars in Northern Namibia and Southern Angola during the 1960ies to 1980ies.
Brits’ work is housed in public and private collections in both South Africa and abroad. He is a recipient of the Golden Key Society Award for Visual Art, the Irma Stern Scholarship and the Barbara Fairhead Prize.
EDUCATION:2007 – 2010 Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting), UCT Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town SOLO EXHIBITIONS:2016 Sketches for the Cathedral of Johannesburg, HAZARD Gallery, Johannesburg2015 Snake Man, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town 2013 1969, Grande Provance Gallery, Franschoek2011 VICTOR VICTOR, Brundyn +, Cape Town SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS:2017 Salad, Smith Gallery, Cape Town2017 Cape Town Salon, AVA Gallery, Cape Town2017 Words, Curated by Willem Boshoff, Nirox Sculpture Park, Cradle of Humankind, Johannesburg2016 Bring Your Own Beamer IV, Gallery Momo, Cape Town2016 1k – 4.0, 1k – 5.0, 1k – 6.0, City Guns, Cape Town2016 From Whence They Came, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town2016 Kindergeburtsdag 2016, Wallmannstr. 24A, Bottrop, Germany2016 Best in Store, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town2015 Nevermind the M*ss, A Space, Helsinki2015 Current, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town2015 Not From Here, 70 Juta Street, Johannesburg2015 Kindergeburtstag 2015, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris2013 Parliament, Roeland Street Studios, Cape Town2013 Un-bound, Franschoek Literary Festival, Franschoek2012 Our Fathers, Curated by Kirsty Cockrill and Chantall Louw, AVA Gallery, Cape Town 2010 Amani Festival for Peace Visual Art Exhibition, Look-out Hill, Khayelitscha 2010 Time In Our Hands, Curated by Justin Brett. Clock Tower Precinct, Cape Town2010 Materiality – Ways of Seeing, ORE Gallery, Cape Town2009 Undiscovered Undergrad,Vansa Gallery, Cape Town ART FAIRS:2017 Joburg Art Fair, Represented by 50ty/50ty 2017 Cape Town Art Fair, Represented by 50ty/50ty CURATORIAL PROJECTS:2012 Not My War Exhibition, Michaelis Galleries, University of Cape Town RESIDENCIES:2016 Artist in Residence, A+W Building, Maboneng, Johannesburg2016 Artist in Residence, Hazard Gallery, Cosmopolitan Building Maboneng, Johannesburg2014 St. Moritz Art Academy, St. Moritz, Switzerland PUBLIC COMMISSIONS:2016 “Artefact of Perception”. A+W Building, 35 Siemert Street, Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg. ACHIEVEMENTS AND AWARDS:2011 Rhodes Scholarship Finalist2011 Golden Key Chapter Award for Visual Art2010 Humanities Faculty Deans List2010 Irma Stern Scholarship2009 Irma Stern Scholarship2009 Humanities Faculty Deans List2008 Barbara Fairhead Prize for Social Responsibility in Art2007 Humanities Faculty Deans List2007 Gold Medal Fine Art Foundation Course KEY WORK EXPERIENCE:2015 Assistant Lecturer (Drawing), Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.2013 Assistant Lecturer (Painting), Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town.2012 Audiovisual Archivist, Visual History Archive/DOXA Productions, Woodstock, Cape Town. 2011 Printmaking Internship at David Krut Projects, Johannesburg.2007-9 Photo Archivist, The Centre for Curating the Archive, University of Cape Town.2007 Founder, Childrens’ Art Project, Marine Primary School, Ocean View, Cape Town. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY:Dias Ramos, A. 2015. ‘Imageless in Angola – Appropriating Photography’. Object 17: Graduate Research and Reviews in the History of Art and Visual Culture. Pgs 77-99. Available from: <http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472890> [15 December 2015].Corrigall, M. 2012. ‘ The Silent War’. 20 July 2012. Incorrigible Corrigall: Blog. Available from: <http://corrigall.blogspot.co.za/2012/07/the-silent-war.html#more> [24 November 2015]. Cowie, A-R. 2013. ‘Featured: David Brits.’ 17 July 2013. Between 10 and 5: Blog. Available from: <http://10and5.com/2013/07/17/featured-david-brits/> [24 November 2015]. Davis, R. 2012. ‘Whose war was it anyway?’ 9 July 2012. The Daily Maverick: Blog. Available from: <http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-07-09-whose-war-was-it-anyway#.VlSBx64rJPM> [24 November 2015].Pinto, G. 2015. ‘Embracing Inheritance: Snake Man by David Brits’. 19 November 2015. Between 10 and 5: Blog. Available from: <http://10and5.com/2015/11/19/embracing-inheritance-snake-man-by-david-brits/> [24 November 2015].Rossouw, C. 2015, ‘Art exhibition sheds light on eccentric snake man’, Business Day 23 November. Available from <http://www.bdlive.co.za/life/entertainment/2015/11/23/art-exhibition-sheds-light-on-an-eccentric-snake-man>. [24 November 2015].