Jozua Gerrard: The Young, Gifted and Luminous Artist Highlighting Mental Health and Identity On The Millennial Social Scene

Jozua Gerrard, the 20-year-old Cape Town-based artist, whose work often depicts his personal struggles with depression, anxiety, and maneuvering his journey with his sexual identity, has recently been accepted into the V&A Waterfront Artist Alliance Incubation Programme, pushing his artist career into the business realm and engaging with mentor Storm Janse Van Rensburg of the Zeitz Mocaa. Design is an important part of Jozua’s work, and he includes these principles into his creative practice. Over the last year, he’s created pieces for a variety of exhibitions, including two solo shows, numerous group shows, and appearances on the art websites Latitudes, Artsy and First Thursdays Cape Town.

“To be honest, most of my struggles stem from my own mind. I find that I’m usually my biggest hater. The current contemporary art and creative climate is really buzzing at the moment, I think my generation can do monumental work,” he says.

His latest exhibition with The Southern Guild titled Loveland, is a collection of large-scale and enamel on glass paintings where he interweaves everyday life into surreal realms, through the use of vivid colors and captivating, symbolic characters. The lives of millennials have influenced this quirky body of work; the internet, anxiety, materiality, sex, love, and obsession. The bright red horned mask, prominent throughout his work, has become a defining symbol for the artist with various allegorical meanings. It is also a representation of how we often conceal our true identities. 

Jozua studied at the Creative Academy in Cape Town, but he left owing to his expectations of what he wanted to achieve as an artist and worked full-time as a visual artist. He’s collaborated with a series of galleries, including Art Bureau Collective, WorldArt, and The Southern Guild, enabling him to emerge into the Cape Town art scene and try to discover his full potential and voice as an artist. “Very often people do not acknowledge that there are infinite solutions in how an artist chooses to practice. New innovations can get shut down prematurely when made to fit into old categories,” he says. Despite the fact that his current work primarily consists of paintings, sculptures, and digital work, he is fascinated by the design process and how far his design capabilities may drive him. What excites him the most about the Artist Alliance program is his belief that he still has a great deal to learn as an artist, and that this program will allow him to do so by making it possible for him to meet new and different people within the creative community, while also broadening his outreach. He also recognises the importance of understanding the commercial side of art, which he believes he lacks in many art programs, and tends to not be easily accessible and affordable. His talent and potential are mirrored in his art, which illustrates contemporary city scenes that he continues to face, and we’re excited to witness his growth.

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