"I believe art is an immensely important and influential bridge of communication that can offer understanding, healing and connection."
I am Nicolene Burger, a multi-media artist deeply immersed in the realms of painting, installation, and performance art. If you would like to listen to an in-depth audio of my story, following this link to the first episode of N.B. Art Notes podcast. Otherwise, here is a bit more about how I have been growing and experiencing as an Artist and Creativity Doula.
Throughout my artistic journey, I have developed a profound understanding of the power of art as a transformative medium, and I constantly delve into the intricacies of memory, healing, connection, and spiritual growth. My creative exploration expands beyond the confines of traditional art forms, allowing me to venture into uncharted territory and guide meditative art experiences for those facing creative blocks. I have come to embody the role of the Creativity Doula, providing nurturing support and guidance to fellow artists on their creative journeys.
After earning my BA in Fine Arts from Stellenbosch University, I took a break from academic study and pursued more spiritual avenue of the creative process. I returned to the academy after 5 year and am currently on the cusp of completing a practice-based master's degree in Theatre and Performance at the University of Cape Town. This ongoing academic pursuit enables me to expand my artistic repertoire and delve deeper into the realm of sensory art experiences. I am passionate about creating profound connections between the viewer/participant and the artwork, and to achieve this, I engage multiple senses by incorporating taste, smell, and sound into my intricate tapestries of expression. Through physical engagement with my artworks, I invite individuals to explore their vulnerabilities and forge a profound connection that transcends the boundaries of conventional communication.
For me, art is an immensely powerful and influential bridge of communication. My creations serve as conduits of understanding, healing, and connection, reaching out to individuals on a deeply personal level. By continuously pushing the boundaries of artistic expression, my aim is to create a space where vulnerability is celebrated and transformation is sparked. With each stroke of my brush and every embodied performance, I invite viewers to embark on a journey of self-discovery, forging connections that transcend the limitations of language and society. My art is a testament to the profound impact that creativity can have on our lives, fostering empathy, healing, and unity within a fragmented world.
My artistic journey has taken me to various transformative experiences and collaborations. In 2018, I had the opportunity to showcase my artistry as part of the Rhizome Artist Residency in Masan, South Korea, collaborating with Korean artists and engaging in improvised interactions with audiences. This experience gave rise to poignant questions surrounding race, voice, violence, and identity, which I continue to explore long after the residency concluded.
In April 2019, I was selected to participate in a series of Live Art workshops facilitated by renowned international practitioners and educators at the Institute of Creative Arts (ICA). This transformative three-week intensive course ignited my inspiration to co-found The Leap Collective (TLC) alongside collaborator Livia Schneider. TLC became a vibrant community of collaborating artists, providing support, critique sessions, and a safe space for collective growth. As a co-curator, I had the opportunity to contribute to the immersive art event series titled Senses of the Seasons in June and July 2019, fostering a dynamic environment for exploration and expression in Cape Town.
In October 2019, I showcased my first solo exhibition, Painted Mantras, at the University of Stellenbosch Gallery. This exhibition featured a striking collection of visual mantras, meticulously painted in oil on canvas, serving as a testament to my artistic vision and spiritual exploration.
Continuing my artistic odyssey, I participated in the Infecting the City Live Art Festival in November 2019. Collaborating with fellow artists, we presented Take Flight, a series of captivating performance pieces rooted in my initial public engagement during the #FeesMustFall movement in 2016. These performances formed a powerful link to my artistic evolution and further deepened my exploration of memory, identity, and connection. In 2022, this body of work was selected to be a part of the Walking Art and Relational Geographies conference in Spain and required me and Dudu to adapt it to an interactive "walkshop" format to be experienced by anyone around the world.
In the face of the global pandemic in 2020, I adapted my artistic practice to the virtual realm. Collaborating with Lumkile Mzayiya, I created a series of thought-provoking Zoom performances titled Evoked? These innovative performances from my home became a means to engage with audiences during uncertain times. Additionally, I focused on the sustainability of creative practices amidst the pandemic by offering creative coaching sessions to artists of all disciplines. I also dedicated my time to teaching painting every week from my home in Fish Hoek, sharing my knowledge and passion with aspiring artists.
Throughout my artistic journey, I remain dedicated to exploring the depths of memory, identity, and connection through my diverse body of work. By seamlessly weaving together different artistic mediums, I create immersive experiences that invite audiences to delve into their own emotions and perceptions. I believe that art has the power to transform and bridge gaps between individuals, fostering understanding, healing, and personal growth. In the ever-evolving landscape of artistic expression, I strive to be a beacon of creativity, reminding us of the boundless possibilities that lie within the realm of artistic exploration.