Jacques Dhont was born in the Congo in 1959. His parents moved to South Africa in 1967 and settled in Somerset-West. After studying painting at the University of Stellenbosch, he completed a double major in painting and sculpture at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) in 1989. Soon after completing his degree, Jacques moved to the Overberg region where he could work close to nature, living in abandoned farm houses without electricity or running water. It was here that he ﬁrst started experimenting with the creation of sculptures using woven wattle bark. For the past couple yearsJacques has been living within the beautiful Klein Drakenstein Mountains in Paarl.
Jacques Dhont’s sculptures inspire curiosity in all their eeriness and humility. They sit ruminating over their form and position as their titles suggest.
In their expression of the simplicity and the quiet beauty of nature, the sculptures explore the processes of deconstruction and regeneration of nature through the materials of alien black wattle bark and metal. This brings into conversation two age-old materials, one a natural force and the other produced through human industrialization.
Dhont captures the essence of the forest through his weaving techniques, echoing water and woodlands. His anthropomorphic creatures inhabit this environment but are simultaneously made up of it thereby exploring the relationship between the creature and its environment, as well as absorbing the viewer into this mysterious place.
Dhont’s work clearly reflects his African heritage, calling to mind traditional West African images. The juxtaposition of modern subject matter and the use of traditional materials create a tension between modern and ancient cultures. This tension reveals the creative restlessness of being rooted in Africa and yet not entirely separated from an essentially Western frame of reference.