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. (The black wattle is an alien and invasive tree species which used to grow in forests on the banks of the Riviersonderend.) Jacques mastered the weaving technique and the works created during this period speak of their inspiration of water and woodlands.
Fascinated with processes of deconstruction and regeneration in Nature, Jacques started to incorporate more natural media as well as found objects. In a series of sculptures created in 2000, bark figures play with a series of “toys” constructed with animal bones and found wire. Some of the figures wear metal masks and sheep skin is woven into the bark to emphasize the opposition between modern and ancient cultures.
Jacques’ fascination with eerie and ancient water creatures was demonstrated in his 2003 exhibition of relief sculptures carved from camphor wood, sometimes painted in vivid acrylic, portraying imaginary or real life forms such as trilobites, star fish and coral.
A 2006 solo exhibition dealt with different forms of blindness : blind rage, blind love, blind justice, ambition and fear. The exhibition comprised figures wrought in woven bark and skin with metal, wood and sisal.
A joint exhibition with painter Nicolaas Maritz in 2009 included various masked and winged figures as well as figures dealing with social satire. All these sculptures were made of woven bark, with metal, skin, bone and wood.
Jacques has also been experimenting with new media, particularly stone and bronze. He has completed a series of horse heads in bronze, a giant horse head in wonder stone and several sculptures in marble.
For the past couple years Jacques has been living within the beautiful Klein Drakenstein Mountains in Paarl, where he is learning to juggle his art and helping to care for his lively young children.
Nerox 20 Stellenbosch, Two Decades of South African Sculptures
1982-1985 University of Stellenbosch, BA Fine Art (Painting)
1987-1990 Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT (Diploma in Sculpture)
1989 Dorp Street Gallery, Stellenbosch
1992 University of Stellenbosch, “Sculptors of the Western Cape”
1992 South African National Gallery, “Made in Wood”, Cape Town
1993 Standard Bank Arts Festival, “Images of the Western Cape”, Grahamstown
1993 South African Association of Arts, Western Cape
1994 World Economics Forum, Devos, Switzerland
1995 Dorp Street Gallery, Stellenbosch
1996 The GAP, Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
1997 The GAP, Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown
2001 Dorp Street Gallery, Stellenbosch, “Equus”
2007 Critics Choice AVA
2009 Grand Provance, Nicolas Maritz
2010 View from the South, Everard Read
2012 Mapping Sculpture, Tokara
Quartier Francaise with Greg Kerr
2014 Sculptures at the Delicatessen
20 Stellenbosch, Two Decades of South African Sculptures
2016 DL Art Gallery San Juan Puerto Rico
2017 Breytenbach Centre
2018 Eclectica Gallery, Winter Show
1998 Mark Coetzee Fine Art cabinet, Cape Town
2000 Karen McKerron Gallery, Johannesburg
2006 Erdman Gallery
2006 University of Stellenbosch Art Gallery
2018 Art at the Clock Tower
South african National Gallery, Cape Town
Sasol Museum, Stellenbosch
Private Collections in Germany, France, Belgium, USA
Large 3D mural for Lentegeur Psychiatric Hospital, Mitchells Plain