Contemporary South African Artist
“We are surrounded by landscapes and societies that are traumatised. Within these landscapes, there are traces that may tell us more about the many ways through which we are connected, to each other, to other species, and to the Earth. Finding such traces in the environments around me, and deciphering their nuanced meanings and histories, is the driving force of my artistic practice.
My work is a response to the natural environments I explore around me, and often includes natural materials such as clay, glass, wood, and stone. A central part of understanding my work is to consider what these materials communicate. Each material contains information about our interconnectedness with the Earth and involves elements of curiosity, play, transparency, fragility, tension, and balance.”
Chrisél Attewell (b. 1994) is a multidisciplinary artist from South Africa. Her work is research-driven and experimental. Inspired by current socio-ecological concerns, Attewell’s work explores the nuances in people’s connection to the Earth and each other. She works with various mediums, including installation, sculpture, photography, and painting, and prefers natural materials, such as hemp canvas, oil paint, glass, clay, and stone.
She received her BAFA (Fine Arts, Cum Laude) from the University of Pretoria in 2016 and is currently pursuing her MA in Visual Arts at the University of Johannesburg. Her work has been represented locally and internationally in numerous exhibitions, residencies, and art fairs. Attewell was selected as a Sasol New Signatures finalist (2016, 2017) and a Top 100 finalist for the ABSA L’Atelier (2018). Attewell was selected as a 2018 recipient of the Young Female Residency Award, founded by Benon Lutaaya.
Her work was showcased at the 2019 Contemporary Istanbul with Berman Contemporary and her latest solo exhibition, titled Sociogenesis: Resilience under Fire, curated by Els van Mourik, was exhibited in 2020 at Berman Contemporary in Johannesburg. Attewell also exhibited at the main section of the 2022 Investec Cape Town Art Fair.
Solo and Duo Exhibitions
2023 RAIN SHADOWS. UJ FADA Gallery, Johannesburg.
2022 WORK IN PROGRESS: Chrisél Attewell & Gina vd Ploeg. Berman Contemporary. Curated by Els van Mourik.
2021 ARTISTES DE LA TERRE: Chrisél Attewell & Barbara Schroeder. Berman Contemporary. Curated by Els van Mourik.
2020 SOCIOGENESIS: Resilience Under Fire. Berman Contemporary, Johannesburg. Curated by Els van Mourik.
2019 Substratum. Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg
2018 Architectus Konstruksie. Klein Karoo Nationale Kunstefees (KKNK), Oudsthoorn, Western Cape
2018 Under Construction. Assemblage, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
Selected Group Exhibitions
2022 Making and Interpreting Art in 2022, SARChI Postgraduate Exhibition, curated by Dineke Van der Walt.
2022 WORKS ON PAPER, curated by Els van Mourik, Berman Contemporary, Johannesburg.
2022 ANNUAL SUMMER SHOW, curated by Els van Mourik, Berman Contemporary, Johannesburg.
2021 Annual Winter Show: The Liminal Space, Berman Contemporary, curated by Morgan Kunhardt. Johannesburg.
2021 Making and Interpreting Art in 2021, SARChI Postgraduate Exhibition, curated by Dineke Van der Walt.
2020 Learning to Breathe Differently, Berman Contemporary, Curated by Els van Mourik, Johannesburg.
2019 ArtLadies, Berman Contemporary, Curated by Els van Mourik, Johannesburg.
2019 Collecting Contemporary, Lizamore Gallery, KKNK, Oudtshoorn.
2019 SAFFCA Group Exhibition, Gerhard Sekoto Gallery, Alliance Française, Johannesburg.
2018 Unsettled, ABSA Gallery, curated by Thabo Seshoka, Johannesburg.
2018 Talking to Deaf Ears, ABSA Gallery, curated by Sarah McGee, Johannesburg.
2017 Thami Mnyele Fine Art Awards, Coen Scholtz Recreation Centre, Kempton Park.
2017 Young Capital – White Noise, Joburg Fringe, Curated by Mbali Tshabalala, Johannesburg.
2017 Sasol New Signatures, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria.
2017 Fresh Produce, Turbine Art Fair, Curated by Rolihlahla Mhlanga, Johannesburg.
2017 My XXX, Innibos National Arts Festival, Curated by John-Anthony Boerma, Nelspruit.
2016 Sasol New Signatures, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria.
2013 Hidden Urban Histories, Rembrandt Hall, University of Pretoria, Pretoria.
The African Arts Trust Collection
The ABSA Bank Collection
The Project Space Collection
Harrie Siertsema Personal Collection
South African Foundation of Contemporary Arts Collection
The Leonardo Building, Sandton
Quorum Properties, Johannesburg
2022 Investec Cape Town Art Fair. Berman Contemporary. Cape Town International Convention Centre.
2021 Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Online. Berman Contemporary.
2020 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Berman Contemporary and Christie’s, Online, London
2019 Contemporary Istanbul, Berman Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey
2019 Turbine Art Fair, solo booth: Earth to earth, stone to stone, dust to dust.
2018 Investec Cape Town Art Fair, The Project Space, Cape Town.
2018 RMB Turbine Art Fair, Young Female Residency Award, The Project Space, Johannesburg.
2017 RMB Talent Unlocked, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg.
2021 Special URC Award. University of Johannesburg, Postgraduate School
2018 ABSA L’atelier, Top 100
2018 Grant received from The African Arts Trust as part of the Assemblage Exhibition Programme
2017 Thami Mnyele Fine Art Awards, top 100, Coen Scholtz Recreation Centre, Kempton Park
2017 Sasol New Signatures, finalist, mentioned in catalogue, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria
2022 A Matter of Contemporary Connections, ART TIMES, February 2022
2022 Collector’s Edition Cover – Chrisél Attewell, featured on the Opener and dust jacket of House & Leisure
2022 Works on Paper exhibition at Berman Contemporary allows for viewers to engage with the artists’ process of creating, Edward Tsumele, Feb 2022
2021 The 10 artists participating in The Liminal Space exhibition at Berman Contemporary test artistic limits, Edward Tsumele, Aug 2021
2020 Whispers of Inspiration, Bernie Hellberg Jr, Signature, May 2020
2019 Selections, Curated by Contemporary Istanbul, September 2019
2019 RMB Turbines Art Fair’s Potential to Challenge Traditional Arbiters of Taste, Nkgopoleng Moloi, Bubblegum Club, July 2019
2019 The Young Female Residency Award: Entrepreneurship and Arts, Art Africa, July 2019
2019 Art Africa, Countering Artybollocks – an exhibition curated by Bland&Boring, written by Tracy Murinik
2018 South African Art Scene: Artist using printmaking to explore Johannesburg’s architectural history, CGTN Africa
2018 Khuluma Magazine, Jozi’s Lost Pockets, written by Trevor Crighton
2018 Prestige Digital Magazine, Jo’burg’s Rebirth Documented as Art, written by Trevor Crighton
2018 SA Art Times, Sculpture Fair
2016 SA Art Times, University of Pretoria Graduate Exhibition
2022 Work in Progress: An In-Situ Residency, Berman Contemporary, Johannesburg
2019 Southern African Foundation for Contemporary Art (SAFFCA), Residency at Entabeni Farm, Knysna
2018 Recipient of the Young Female Residency Award with The Project Space, founded by Benon Lutaaya
2017 Artist Career Development Programme developed by Assemblage
Conferences, Presentations, and Papers:
2022 Notions of Disappearance in African Artists’ Response to Postcolonial Landscapes, Making and Interpreting Art in 2022, SARChI Postgraduate Conference in association with UJ, the National Research Foundation and the Department of Science and Innovation
2022 Artists’ Responses to Traces in the Postcolonial Traumatised Landscape. Spring Seminar 2022: Traumatic Landscapes, School of Arts, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in Association with CITAR (Research Center for Science and Technology of the Arts) and FCT (Foundation for Science and Technology), Porto, Portugal.
2021 Circular economies in the artistic practices of Otobong Nkanga and Ibrahim Mahama, Making and Interpreting Art in 2021, SARChI Postgraduate Conference in association with UJ, the National Research Foundation and the Department of Science and Innovation
2019 A Womxn’s Work: Sculpting and Living. A discussion with Avi Soulful and Chrisél Attewell on the processes, practices, challenges and glories of being a (female) sculptor in South Africa. Turbine Art Fair Talks Programme Sponsored by RMB Private Bank
2021- MA in Visual Arts, University of Johannesburg.
2016 BA(FA) Fine Arts, Summa Cum Laude, University of Pretoria