Ann Gollifer is a visual artist whose practice includes painting, print-making, writing and photography. She has lived and worked in Botswana for 30 years and has travelled extensively throughout the country gathering images and words from the people and places she has encountered. She is interested in the disparate communities she meets and their relationships to one another and the landscapes in which they are embedded. Everyone has a story to tell but often not the means to communicate, expand and develop the details. Ann’s work is an attempt to reveal diverse histories.
“My role as an artist is to search, discover and communicate personal histories and their relationships to a collective human memory. My wish is to remind myself constantly that we are all connected by our common humanity and to celebrate the landscapes from which we have emerged and the multifarious environments in which we live.”
My job is to make artwork that concerns the human condition, hopefully initiating dialogues that further respect and empathy between people. I see my work as relevant to current, contemporary, international visual art discourse and therefore I make every effort to be part of that conversation.
In 1989 there was a group of visual artists in Botswana that came together to form a team led by Veryan Edwards. Veryan pioneered the concept of the international artists workshops in Botswana, under the auspices of the Triangle International Artists Workshops. These workshops ran from 1989 to 2002 more or less. From 1989 to 1995 the workshops involved an annual gathering of artists from all over the world together with a core group of artists living and working in Botswana. This core group involved both Batswana artists and non-Batswana resident artists living and working in Botswana. Apart from this annual international workshop, the team also organised smaller workshops throughout the year. Established artists led these smaller workshops, many coming from the Triangle network in South Africa with the support and facilitation of local artists in Botswana.
The workshops were perfect venues for sharing ideas about why we make art, in terms of concept and origination and how we go about making it in terms of technique and materials. They were also fertile ground for building friendships between artists that in some cases have lasted a lifetime. The workshops were also important spaces for networking on an international level.
Artists from Botswana, both Batswana and non-Batswana resident artists were encouraged to attend both regional and international workshops and residencies. There were residency venues in South Africa, The Bag factory in Johannesburg, Greatmore Studios in Cape Town and the Gas Works in London. There were workshops like Tupelo in South Africa, Pachipamwe in Zimbabwe, Tulipamwe in Namibia, Mbile in Zambia, Thapong in Botswana. The network stretched across the world from the USA and Canada to the UK and all the way to Australia and back!
This initiative eventually led to the building of the Thapong Visual Art Centre. Thapong is where I met artists from all over the world, who taught me how to think about and how to make artwork in new and exciting ways. There is no better teacher for an artist than another artist. Thapong provided the networks I needed to start my journeys here at home and eventually across borders. I met the wonderful Cameroonian artist Goddy Leye, Lutanda Mwamba and Baba Jaak, Zambian print-maker, sculptor and performance artists, the British painter Vanessa Jackson, Pat Mautloa and David Koloane of Johannesburg and so many others whose influence and support has made me the artist I am.
In every city around the world there are contemporary art scenes, some larger or smaller, some loud, some quiet, some visible in the mainstream, some invisible, some alive and thriving and some dying. The ones that are vibrant and growing are those that are inclusive: Johannesburg, Harare, Windhoek, Maputo, New York, London, Berlin. In all these places you find many nationalities, ethnicities, peoples, working cheek by jowl, together and apart, clamouring to be heard in competition and in community. One of the main reasons that I decided to work within the visual arts was because the discipline offered a space where differences must mingle in order to create relevant current dialogues. The visual arts and arts in general must create that space and they cannot if they are ruled by discrimination, jealousy and fear.
ANN MARY GOLLIFER
DATE OF BIRTH: 27.7.1960
HOME LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
1983 Edinburgh University, MA. History of Art
TITLE OF DISSERTATION
GAUDIER BRZESKA: His sculptural development 1912 to 1914
ANN GOLLIFER REVIEWS
2016 - Thato Chuma - Men with Tales ... The stories of the Okavango tour guides
2009 - Quiet Diplomacy review
'Ann Gollifer is an artist who, through her personal search, has cut a path of innovation, technical and aesthetic excellence and ambitiousness which has made many of us explore our own limitations with more skepticism. Unsurprisingly, we are again subjected to a sensuous treat of the delicate and powerful.'
Steve Jobson, review of Ann Gollifer's work for the 2009 Artists in Botswana Exhibition, National Museum and Art Gallery, Gaborone. Steve Jobson, with Neo Matome and David Koloane, were selectors and judges for the exhibition.
ANN GOLLIFER RESUME
Ann Gollifer is a permanent resident of Botswana. She has lived and worked in Gaborone since 1985. In 1983 she graduated from Edinburgh University with a Masters degree in History of Art. Ann worked as a Senior Technical Officer under the Directorship of its founder, Alec Campbell, at the National Museum and Art Gallery, Gaborone. During this period she also worked part-time at the Phuthadikobo Museum in Mochudi with Sandy Grant, the Museum's founder and director. From 1991 to 2001 she was part of the committee, involved with the administration and facilitation of the Thapong Triangle International Artist’s workshops that took place in Botswana, as well as the many smaller off-shoot art workshops that were organized annually by the Thapong committee. An Artist member of the Thapong Visual Art Centre, Gaborone, Ann was part of the executive committee, responsible for the building of the centre.
2017 ALL YOUR SECRETS, An exhibition of recent work by Ann Gollifer and Jo Rogge at Arts on Main. annex space, Maboneng, Johannesburg, curated by THE GUNS AND RAIN GALLERY.
2017 ARTAFRICA FAIR, CAPE TOWN, an exhibition of work by Ann Gollifer and Jo Rogge curated by THE GUNS AND RAIN GALLERY.
2017 OMANG @ THE AVA GALLERY, CAPE TOWN, an exhibition of lino print and embroidery on fabric by Ann Gollifer and lead wood and marble sculpture by Shepherd Ndudzo.
2015 OMANG? – “Who are you?” a solo exhibition at Sophie Lalonde Art, Gaborone, lino and embroidery on fabric, exploring concepts of belonging through gender and politics.
2012 BRANDED - a solo exhibition of mono-prints at the Frame Gallery, Gaborone, Botswana.
2011 LIVING ON AN HORIZON. A TRIBUTE TO BESSIE HEAD - Solo exhibition of paintings at Circa on Jellicoe, The Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg.
2010 WHAT AM I DOING HERE? KE DIRANG HA? - Solo show: July, BICHA Gallery, Gabriel's Wharf, South Bank, London.
2009 GODDESSES AND SUPER HEROES - An exhibition of new work at the Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg.
2008 WORD - a collaborative exhibition of paintings, drawings and collage from 4 Artists: Ann Gollifer, Sedireng Mothibatsela, Steve Jobson and Monica Mosarwa, at the Grahamstown festival, The Monument.
2006 LINHAS DE SANGUE, TERRITORIES OF THE HEART - a solo exhibition, Museu Nacional de Arte, Maputo, Mozambique.
2002 MONOMOTAPA - residency exhibition at the Fordsburg Studios, Johannesburg.
2001 HOCHE KOCHE - a multi media performance, originated, designed and co-produced by Ann Gollifer with Steve Dyer, musician and composer, Johannesburg and the Tumbuka Dance Company, Harare. The performance premiered in Harare at HIFA and then toured: Gaborone, The Grahamstown festival and the Dance Festival in Avignon, France. It toured France in 2002 and returned to the WITS theatre in Johannesburg for the 2002 Dance Umbrella.
2000 THREE WOMEN THREE PERSPECTIVES - an exhibition of new work by Ann Gollifer, Coex ae Qgam (Dada) and Neo Matome that travelled to Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Windhoek and Gaborone; funded and hosted by the Alliance Francaise, Botswana.
WORKS IN PUBLIC COLLECTIONS:
The Unisa Art Gallery Collection, Pretoria, South Africa
The Sainsbury Africa Galleries, The British Museum, London, UK
The Triangle International Art Workshops, New York, USA
The Alliance Francaise, Johannesburg, South Africa
The National Museum, Gaborone, Botswana
The Thapong International Art Workshop, Gaborone, Botswana
The Mbile Art Collection, Lusaka, Zambia
Botswana Life Insurance LTD, Gaborone, Botswana
Bank of Botswana Art Collection, Gaborone, Botswana
Men with Tales - a collection of stories from the Guides of the Okavango Delta, fully illustrated with watercolour and koki pen. Published by EGGSSON BOOKS. Gaborone. 2015. ISBN9789996803581
A frog in her throat - an illustrated children’s storybook, published in French and English editions by Snow Moon Editions, France 2015. ISBN979-10-91596-10-7 and ISBN979-10-91596-09-1 respectively.
The Nata Baobab - written and illustrated by Ann Gollifer. BOTSALANO PRESS, Gaborone, 2004. ISBN99912-531-5-7
I don't know why I was created. DADA, Coex'Ae Qgam - by Ann Gollifer and Jenny Egner. A biography/portrait of Coex ae Qgam, Ncoekhoe painter of the Kuru Art Project, D'Kar, Botswana. Published by EGGSSON BOOKS. Gaborone. 2011. ISBN978-99912-938-1-3
Africa e Meditarraneo- n. 3-4/09 (69-700 Aprile 2010 African Fashion: containing article "Urban Camouflage Street Safaris. By Ann Gollifer
2012 CONCEPT a forum for creativity - Ann Gollifer was the editor of this quarterly magazine, published for the first time in Botswana in April 2012.
Carter's suit, New York, USA
A commission to make a personalised suit for Carter Foster, the Curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art, to wear to the Burning Man Festival 2009.
Paul Harris commission, JOHANNESBURG 2009 - large scale wall panel; 30x300x300mm stretched canvases. Portrait of a family.
"The Maitisong Dancers", mild steel and aluminium wall sculpture, 12 metres in length x 4 metres in height. Maitisong Theatre Entrance, Gaborone, Botswana
The Donor windows, Entrance, Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone, Botswana
IASPIS RESIDENCY, Stockholm, Sweden, 2018
Fordsburg Artist' Studios, The Bag Factory, Johannesburg, 2002.
THAPONG, Botswana 1991, 1993, 2001
MBILE, Zambia, 1998
TUPELO, South Africa, 2000
TRIANGLE, New York, USA, 2008
Ann Gollifer is currently represented by
'Guns and Rain', Johannesburg
LL Editions, Johannesburg