Swellendam / South Africa
Grady Zeeman (b South Africa) is a contemporary painter who graduated from Cape Technicon as a Fashion Designer in 1988. After graduation, she worked as a designer in Cape Town, before marriage and moving back to her hometown. As painting was her first love, she decided to give it more attention. With the assistance of 2 of her friends, she did the roof of a local restaurant with an African theme; where they were allowed a small exhibition space. She earnestly developed her technical skills and broadened her knowledge of Art History. In 2008, she had her first international art exhibition and then her career developed from there. She has taken part in various exhibitions in the USA, UK, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Zeeman has also taken part in the Florence Biennale 2011, Siel de Paris 2012, London Biennale 2019, and Amsterdam Art Fair 2019. In October 2020, she had her first solo exhibition in Rome, Italy. Her work has been published in numerous books and magazines and she has been a finalist in a couple of art competitions. She has also received several international art prizes and received the African Excellence Award for Contemporary Artist of the Year, in 2022. From 2011 to 2017 Zeeman had her own gallery in her hometown in South Africa, where she not only exhibited her own work but represented other South African artists as well. She is currently represented by Agora Gallery - NY; Galerie Bruno Massa - Paris, NY, Tbilisi, Seoul; Artio Gallery - Toronto; Art Screen TV - Basel.
As a teenager, Zeeman was surrounded by dynamic women in her family, who inspired her to be aligned with her own power, advocating women’s rights and equality. As she is interested in world history, politics, social matters, as well as emotional energy work, it is only fitting for these aspects to be woven into her paintings.
Zeeman’s passion for people - especially women, their struggles, fears, and strive for recognition and equality, is evident in her work. For her, using her art as an instrument to shed the light on current matters, is her Divine purpose. However, Zeeman believes that in order for women to empower themselves, they must focus on emotional intelligence. She relates to Kavita Ramdas who said: “ We need women who are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.” Through her artistic practice, Zeeman addresses lessons that she learned in order to strive for a happy, fulfilling life.
Zeeman’s preferred medium is oil, though she starts with a thin layer of acrylic. She found that with these techniques, she could create the movement and depth that best represented emotions and energy. Her colour palette is a clear indication of her connection to her understanding of energy fields.
Characterized by melancholy with underlying aspects of spiritualism, Zeeman’s work illustrates sentiments relevant to the times, to which all people can relate.
Who are you (tell us briefly about yourself)?
Originally a Fashion Designer, my art career started in 2008. I have taken part in numerous art exhibitions, Biennales and Art Fairs in USA, UK, Europe, Asia and Africa. I have also been a finalist in several art competitions. I recently received the African Excellence Award for Contemporary Artist of the year, 2022. From 2011 to 2017 I had my own gallery in Swellendam, South Africa where I not only exhibited my own work, but represented other South African artists as well. I am currently represented by a couple of international galleries.
What inspires your art practice?
I am inspired by people, especially women - our struggles, fears and strive for recognition and equality. I learned that for women to empower ourselves, we must focus on our unique capabilities and to do it through emotional intelligence.
What drives you to keep going every day?
Spiritual connectivity to the Divine, grounded in the knowledge that if I don’t go within, I go without.
What is the number one advice to fellow women artists?
Value your own unique capabilities. Trust that you are fully equipped to make a difference with your art.