Jo Roets

Capetonian, Jo Roets's background is in the film industry where she worked as an artist in the art department. She also lectured in a film and media school for 14 years. In 2017 she took a calculated risk and became a full- time artist.

Jo is a recovering alcoholic. This year she celebrates her 4th year of sobriety. Her courage to embrace sobriety and follow her creative drive are deeply intertwined. Jungian analyst Marion Woodman wrote that "the alcoholic wants spirit out of the whiskey bottle" and the founder of analytical psychology, Carl Jung, wrote that the "craving for alcohol is the equivalent of a spiritual thirst.” Jo’s sobriety allowed her to recover her creative spirit and pursue her career of professional artist. 

She calls her artworks "light relief". The way Jo has used this medium is unique. The artworks are created from an air-drying clay medium which is rolled out to a paper -thin thickness to create bass reliefs. Using toothpicks and needles she scores the damp surface with indents, holes and incisions. Part of her creative challenge is to push the medium to its breaking point, encouraging it to warp in the process. The feel and look of the designs are similar to the pricked or indented patterns found on short bread made by the impression of fork tines. 

In the early days of her recovery program Jo met a diverse range people from all walks of life - all with the same condition. Her work is born from a profound recognition that although our circumstances differ, essentially we all share a common humanity. Her artworks are a deep celebration of this recognition.

Jo’s influences are drawn from the many diverse South African cultures. They include elements from the visual symbols found in the wall paintings and bead work of the Ndebele, Islamic prayer mats, the marital aprons of isiXhosa, Zulu earplugs and beer pots, the spiritual patterns of sacred geometry, the doilies of her own Afrikaans culture and elements from her Portuguese ancestry. 

While the cultures may be very different they all share a strong sense of the geometric. Jo’s focus and challenge is finding the similarity in diversity and to take these disparate threads and combine them in a unique way. 


Texts By Lucinda Jolly.

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