Ronél de Jager is an award-winning South African visual artist. Born in Johannesburg (1985), she has lived and worked in the city for much of her life.


De Jager's work shifts between painting, sculpture and installation. She deals with concepts of time, environmental concerns and with personal narratives as microcosms of broader social issues.


In De Jager’s oeuvre, transience is the constant, change the leitmotif, both conceptually and formally. Her works demonstrate the continuous transformation to which every form is subjected, and reflect on the eternal processes of becoming and of passing away. In this, she resonates with philosopher and sociologist Georg Simmel: “By ‘nature’, we mean the endless connection of things, the uninterrupted production and negation of forms, the flowing unity of occurrence that is expressed in the continuity of temporal and spatial existence. Matter, every kind of material, is constantly in a process of transformation.”


De Jager says, “I’m continuously fascinated with time on a grand scale, through ideas of evolution of the world around us, geological time and the antiquity of the earth. But I also want these histories to speak of a contemporary moment and show the response from the earth to our presence.”


In her paintings, De Jager’s abiding interest in translating photographic and video imagery into ambiguous, suggestive paint marks enables her to explore liminal states. Blurry paintings imply movement, as if to explore a kind of spatial liminality: unclear landscapes suggest rapid movement. The disturbance created by this is unsettling, as the details of the landscape resist our grasp. In the place of a full understanding, the viewer is left with a mere sensation, an intense yet transient impression of the scenes De Jager explores.


A similar transience is to be detected in her working process: De Jager continually shifts her practice and evolves her interests. Her forays into the 3-dimensional have moved her practice into creating environments for her work, as seen in her 2017 exhibition ‘Broeigrond: Fertile Ground for Golden Regrets’.

This installation, which secured her the KANNA Award for the best exhibition at the KKNK Arts Festival of that year, delved into concepts of existence, evolution and life’s fragility. Using electroplating to grow quasi-organic shapes onto Karoo flora, De Jager showed individual sculptures, as specimens, in hand-blown glass vessels. Their fragility heightened by their suspension in mid-air, the works spoke of ecological concerns; along with the overwhelmingly red paintings that accompanied them, the installation had a sense of urgency in speaking about our species’ impact on our environment.


Additionally, she has participated in numerous curated group shows. Recent collaborative projects includes a glass beaded work 'All that Glitters... is Glass' (2022) in collaboration with Cape Town based 'Qaqambile Bead Studio'. In 2019 she has collaborated with Eswatini based 'Ngwenya Glass' on her 'Citizen of Glass' sculpture project. Collective exhibitions include ‘MYOPIA’ with Mandy Coppes-Martin, and ‘Sacred & Profane’, both in 2017. She has been a regular finalist in National Art Competitions; ABSA L’Atelier (2008, 2013 and 2015), Sasol New Signatures (in 2008, 2010 and 2014) and the Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards (in 2011 to 2016). De Jager is also a recipient of the MTN Foundation Award (2003). Her work has been presented at the Turbine Art Fair (in 2013 to 2021), Cape Town Art Fair in 2015 and more recently with Kalashnikovv Gallery in 2022.


In January 2020, De Jager concluded a four-month residency at Bag Factory Artist’s Studios in Newtown, Johannesburg.


Her works are included in a significant number of public and private collections, locally and abroad, including ABSA, First Rand Limited, Hollard SA & Australia, Rand Merchant Rank, Sasol, Telkom, Spier Arts Trust, Nando’s International and the permanent collection of the South African National Library. 


Permanent installations of her 'Citizen of Glass' sculpture series have been commissioned by First Rand Limited, (housed at Merchant Place, Sandton) and Hollard (housed at The Pines, Parktown, Johannesburg). She has also completed public commissions for Nando’s UK and Edgars & VMLYR for their 2020 winter campaign.



Ronél de Jager’s most recent works play on the idea of ‘Vanitas’, a term used to group many of the 17th/18th century Dutch Old Master still-life paintings.


De Jager’s paintings explore the conventional ways plants are  presented in and around typical middle-class South African homes – house plants, flower hedges, vertical gardens and decorative flower bouquets. As the idyll of middle-class South Africa begins to falter, and homes become increasingly buttressed small fortresses within an uncertain cityscape, the process of surrounding ourselves with plants seems to be about creating a surrogate for lived experience outside of our gates. Building up miniature forests in and around our homes suggests a desperate attempt to retain our connection to nature, as fear of crime and danger renders many near-agoraphobic.


De Jager’s explorations of this theme have her characteristic uneasiness, twinned with an ineffable beauty, both products of her particular handling of paint. Many of the references for this body of work come from modern ceremonial flower arrangements, mostly wedding bouquets. 

The artist says, “I hadn’t realized the wider significance of these floral motifs until the recent lockdowns. During these periods, the wedding industry became largely stagnant; this in turn caused me to consider the relationships which the lockdowns affected; many relationships have ‘unravelled’ under the confined domestic circumstances.”

Using a modern digitising method, which manipulates the image to seemingly “drip” off the surface, De Jager painstakingly imitates and translates this process from reference to canvas. The image is at once abstract and recognisable. The result is a series of works which illustrate impermanence, and become reminders of our mortality and mutability.


In a reworking of the ‘vanitas’ concept for our contemporary moment, the works ask not so much when we will die, but rather how long our privilege will extend.






Bag Factory Artists’ Studio Residency, Newtown, Johannesburg – 2019/2020

KANNA Award Winner, Best Visual Art Exhibition, KKNK National Arts Festival – 2017

ABSA L’Atelier, Top 100 Finalist – 2015, 2013, 2008 

Thami Mnyele Fine Art Awards, Top 100 Finalist – 2016, 2015, 2013, 2011

Sasol New Signatures, Top 100 Finalist – 2013, 2010, 2008

MTN Art Foundation Award – 2003





BROEIGROND: Fertile Ground for Golden RegretsSolo Exhibition (KANNA Award Winner) KKNK Main Visual Arts programme, Oudsthoorn

MYOPIA, Collaborative Exhibition with Mandy Coppes-Martin, Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg

SACRED & PROFANE, Collaborative Exhibition with Dirk Bahmann, Stephan Erasmus, Mandy Johnston, Wayne Mathews & Neil Nieuwoudt, Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg


AM (AFTER MIDNIGHT), Multimedia Solo Exhibition (final in a three part series), Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg


AN INTERLUDE, Featured Multimedia Installation (second in a three part series), Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg

A PRELUDE, Multimedia Installation (first in a three part series), ROOM Gallery & Projects, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

A DISCORD, Interactive Performance in association with Site Specific, Johannesburg


123 BLOKMYSELF!, Gordart Gallery Project Room, Johannesburg




South African National Library Public Art Collection

Hollard – Australia & South Africa

First Rand Limited

Rand Merchant Bank

Nando's – South Africa, Malaysia & UK

Spier Arts Trust & Wine Estate

Telkom SA

Sasol Limited

Various National and International Private Collections (Spain, Germany, Mauritius, Switzerland, UK, Australia, USA São Paulo amongst others)




First Rand Limited: Permanent Installation of two Citizen of Glass Sculptures, Commissioned for CEO Offices, Merchant Place, Sandton, Johannesburg – 2018

Hollard SA: Permanent Installation of Citizen of Glass: Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn & Mercury, housed at The Pines, Parkview, Johannesburg – 2017

Nando’s UK: Featured Work, Veil II, UK Menu cover – 2020

Edgars & VMLYR: Commissioned Painting, Unravel, for Winter Campaign – 2020

South African Government: Official Nelson Mandela Funeral Portrait, assisted commissioned artist Usha Seejarim – 2013



New Voices II, Curator, hosted by Lizamore & Associates, Johannesburg – 2013

The Art of Access Webinar Series, Project manager, hosted by Usha Seejarim – 2013

New Voices, Curatorial debut, hosted by Artspace Gallery, Johannesburg – 2012

Gallery Manager & Assistant Curator, Artspace Gallery (now Lizamore & Associates), Johannesburg, 2007 – 2013



Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Represented by Kalashnikovv Gallery, Cape Town – 2022

Turbine Art Fair, Represented by Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg – 2021

Cape Town Art Fair, Presented by Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Cape Town – 2015

Turbine Art Fair, 'An Interlude' featured Installation, Turbine Hall, Newtown, Johannesburg – 2014

Turbine Art Fair, Presented by Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg, 2013 – 2017




Thread(ed) Interlacing Womxn in the 21st Century, Curated by Dr Adéle Adendorf & Georgina Glass, AOA, Pretoria

Winter Group Show, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Braamfontein, Johannesburg

Paint. Verf. Curated by Johan Myburg, KKNK National Arts Festival, Online

In Conversation with Colour Symphony, Hosted by Rupert Museum, Graaff-Reinet


ABSA Artworks, Exhibition & Art Investment Webinar Series, ABSA Gallery, Online

Summer Salon, Glen Carlou Gallery, Cape Town

ABSA Art Hot Spot, Auction hosted by ABSA & Aspire Art Auctions, Online

The Pandemic, Interdisciplinary Project curated by Annali Dempsey, Online & University of Johannesburg Gallery 

Vanishing Act, Curated by Suen Muller, KKNK National Arts Festival, Online

Knowingly Waisting Time, Painting group exhibition, No End Contemporary, Johannesburg 

She Impressions, All female group exhibition, The Project Space, Victoria Yards, Johannesburg


Bag Factory Salon, Bag Factory Artist’s Studios, Johannesburg

Lost & Found, Curated by Candice Allison, Bag Factory Artist’s Studios, Johannesburg

ABSA Champaign Festival, Curated by Sarah Mcgee, Polo Room, Sandton, Johannesburg

Secret Garden, Art on Avenues Gallery, Somerset West

Countershading, Art on Avenues Gallery, Somerset West

Murmurs of Earth, Art on Avenues Gallery, Somerset West

Collecting Contemporary, Curated by Teresa Lizamore, KKNK Festival, Oudtshoorn

Muurblom, Curated by Carina du Randt, US Woordfees, Stellenbosch


New Romantics, Curated by Mary Corrigall, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town

Nano 1.2, Curated by Alastair Whitton, Barnard Gallery, Cape Town

Star Garden, Curated by Carina du Randt, Platform 13, Cape Town

Paint it Forward, Curated by Lucia Boer, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg

Bag Factory Annual Salon, Bagfactory Artists Studios, Johannesburg

Lizamore Salon, Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg


MYOPIA, Collaborative exhibition with Mandy Coppes-Martin, Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg

Dead and Dreaming: Still Life, Painting exhibition curated by Wayne Matthews, Priest Gallery, Johannesburg

Lady Garden, All female exhibition, Cavalli Gallery, Somerset West, Cape Town

The Young Guns, Gallery One11, Cape Town

35 Lizamore: TrailblazersLizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg

Material Consequences, Women's month exhibition presented by RMB, Art@First Gallery, Merchant Place RMB, Johannesburg

Sacred & Profane, Collaborative Exhibition with Dirk Bahmann, Stephan Erasmus, Mandy Johnston, Wayne Mathews & Neil Nieuwoudt, Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg

See Art, Curated by Derek Zietsman, Gallery 2, Johannesburg

2Y2K, Curated by Rebecca Haysom, Twilsharp Studios, Johannesburg

35 Years Lizamore, Curated by Teresa Lizamore, Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg


For What It's Worth, No End Contemporary Art Space, Johannesburg

#Selfie, Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Johannesburg

Spaces Between Maps, Curated by Stephan Erasmus, KKNK Festival, ABSA Gallery, Oudtshoorn

Fifteen Hundred, No End to Contemporary Art Space, Johannesburg

Stellar, Salon 91 Contemporary Gallery, Cape Town

Office Party, Curated by Rebecca Haysom, Twilsharp Studios, Johannesburg


Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream, Curated by Layla Leiman, Twilsharp studios, Johannesburg

We're Not in Kansas Anymore, Presented by George Bizos fund, Sahethi School, Johannesburg

Broken Monsters, Charity exhibition presented by Nando's SA, curated by Jacki Lang, Johannesburg & Cape Town

Joburg Fringe, Presented by Dead Bunny Society as part of Art Week Joburg, Arts on Main, Johannesburg 

Cultivate, Curated by Kevin Handelsman & Kim Lieberman, King David's School, Johannesburg 

Winter is Coming, Curated by Carina du Randt, Equus Gallery, Cavalli Estate, Somerset West

Macabre, Curated by Dead Bunny Society, Under Culture Contemporary, Port Elizabeth


Site_Specific Jozi Land Art, Emmarentia Botanical Gardens, Johannesburg


Interrupted, Curated by Annali Cabano-Dempsey, University of Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

No Place Like Now, Curated by Emma Willemse & Tamzin Lovell, Lovell Gallery, Cape Town



Classic Feel – ‘UJ ARTS & CULTURE RESPONDS TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS'. Article, June 2020

Art Africa – ‘New Romantics’. Review by Ellen Agnew, February 2018

Business Day – ‘Artwork as a new romance rooted in nature’s magic’. Article by Mary Corrigall, January 2018

Cape Times – ‘Romantics Fixated on Capturing New World’. Article by Mary Corrigall, February 2018

Video Interview – Interview with De Jager for the ‘Sacred & Profane’ exhibition. DBS, August 2017

Beeld – 'Betekenis lê tussen die heilige en onheilige'. Review by Johan Myburg, August 2017

The Star – 'Hopping Into the Great Unknown'. Review by Mary Corrigall, August 2017

Maroela Media – 'Broeigrond Wins Kanna Award', May 2017

RSG Kuns – 'Broeigrond Exhibition'. Radio Interview with Christelle Webb-Joubert, April 2017

Bravo! kyknet – 'Kanna Award Winners announced at Nasdak, CT',  May 2017

Vrouekeur – 'Kuns Uit Eie Bodem'. Feature by Johan Myburg, June 2016

The Citizen – 'Escape The Noise'. Article by Adriaan Roets, May 2016

ELLE Décor – ‘Finding the Black hole’ artwork feature in Inspiration section, April 2016

Finweek – 'How to Pick a Winning Artist'. Article by Johan Myburg, January 2016 – 'Broken Monsters Cape Town Exhibition', January 2016

10 and 5 – 'Nando’s Broken Monsters Charity Show - Artwork feature'. By Louise McCann, November 2015

Contemporary And – 'Last Night I had the Strangest Dream' artwork feature, July 2015

Barclays L'Atelier – 'Top 100 finalists', March 2015

Art Times – Cape Town Art Fair. Sunday Afternoon’ artwork feature, February 2015

Business Day – 'Insights via unconventional ways of perceiving the world'. Feature by Chris Thurman, February 2015

RSG Kuns – 'AM After Midnight Exhibition'. Radio Interview with Christelle Webb-Joubert, February 2015

Rosebank Killarney Gazette – 'Thought-provoking exhibition at Lizamore and Associates', February 2015

Artslink – 'The Fleeting Nature of Light and Shadow', January 2015

The Stylist’s Notebook – 'Art gallery hopping'. Blog post feature, February 2015

DEKAT TV. Kyknet – Rolanda Marias interviews De Jager at her studio, October 2014

Project Video – 'An Interlude' Installation featured at the Turbine Art Fair. July 2014

Grolsch Canvas – ‘Words Can’t Express What the Eye Sees’. July 2014

Saturday Citizen – ‘A Moment’s Silence’. Article by Genevieve Veira, June 2014

Exhibition Video – ‘A Prelude’. June 2014

Business Day – ‘Tricks of Light and Shade are elegiac’ Article by Chris Thurman. June 2014

RSG Kuns – ‘A Prelude Exhibition'. Radio Interview with Christelle Webb-Joubert. February 2014

Joburg City Buzz – 'Pushing boundaries with featured multimedia elements'. Article by Khanyisile Ngcobo. June 2014

Artthrob – ‘A Prelude opens at Room Gallery & Projects’. March 2014

'The making of the official Nelson Mandela Funeral Artwork in Images'. December 2013

Between 10 and 5 – 'The implementation of the Art of Access webinar series' 2013

Saturday Star – '67 Hours' - De Jager assists Usha Seejarim with Mandela day project. July 2013

eNCA – 'Tom Waits for no man exhibition at UJ Gallery'. May 2012