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Staff Members

Maureen de Jager

BFA, MFA (Witwatersrand)
Associate Professor (HOD)

email: m.dejager@ru.ac.za

Maureen de Jager has exhibited both locally and internationally. She has held four solo exhibitions at the National Festival of the Arts, including In Sepia (Main Festival Programme, 2008) and Maria’s Story (Main Festival Programme, 2012). In 2010 she was a finalist in the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum Biennial Exhibition and Award. She works across media, often utilising materials and/or found objects which have rich metaphorical associations in regards to her thematic interests in family history, trauma, memory and melancholic loss. These include steel and rust, which she uses to invoke the deterioration of memory over time. Her art-making is supplemented by an interest in art history and theory. She has authored a number of conference papers and journal articles.


Dominic Thorburn 


BFA,MFA (Rhodes), Tamarind Professional Printer (New Mexico)
Professor (Printmedia)

email: d.thorburn@ru.ac.za

Dominic Thorburn is an artist printmaker who has exhibited locally and abroad and is broadly represented in museum, corporate, and private collections. As a past winner of the Absa Atelier he was granted a year’s residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship he studied at the renowned Tamarind Institute, University of New Mexico, USA. He has presented papers on diverse aspects of printmaking at numerous international conferences and is widely published on the subject. Thorburn was co-convenor of the 3rd Impact International Printmaking Conference held in South Africa in 2003. Strong interests in collaborative printmaking motivated him to establish the Fine Line Press, a unique tertiary based printmaking press and research unit. Thorburn is active in arts administration and policy development, and is dedicated to community engagement and advocacy projects. Research interests include the visual narrative and oral history, large format combination printmaking, and alternative and accessible print mediums.


Ruth Simbao

BFA (Stellenbosch),MWS (ICS, Toronto), MPhil (ICS, Toronto), AM (Harvard), PhD (Harvard)
Professor and NRF SARChI Chair in ‘Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa’

email: r.simbao@ru.ac.za

Ruth Simbao is the National Research Foundation SARChI Chair in Geopolitics and the Arts of Africa and a Professor in the Fine Art Department at Rhodes University, South Africa. She runs the Arts of Africa and the Global South research programme, which comprises the SARCHI Chair programme funded by the National Research Foundation, the PROSPA programme (Publishing and Research of the South: Positioning Africa) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Art POWA network. 

Simbao received her PhD from Harvard University’s Department of History of Art and Architecture in 2008, and was an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) postdoctoral fellow as part of the Humanities in Africa programme in 2010. In 2002 she received a Harvard University Teaching Award as a Teaching Fellow, and was the recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award at Rhodes University in 2009.

Her recent research interests include contemporary art with a particular focus on Africa, the geopolitics of art and society, geopolitics in relation to biennialisation, ‘strategic southernness’ and the global South, theories of ‘place’, contra-flow diasporas, cosmolocalism, redefinitions of ‘the local’, the power of small spaces, modest gestures, faux pas and failures, artists’ responses to xenophobia, Africa-China relations and the arts, contemporary cultural festivals and globalisation, performance theory and site-situational art, a geopolitics of knowledge, sideways learning as a form of decoloniality, and the orientation of discourse.

Recent curatorial projects include SLIP: Mbali Khoza and Igshaan Adams (2014), the performance art programme BLIND SPOT at the National Arts Festival (2014) that featured Mohau Modisakeng, Sikhumbuzo Makandula, Mbali Khoza, Igshaan Adams, Joseph Coetzee, Simone Heymans, Chiro Nott and Ivy Kulundu-Gotz, and Making Way: Contemporary Art from South Africa and China at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg (2013) and the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (2012) (www.makingway.co.za).

Simbao has presented her work in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Canada, the USA, France, Jamaica, China, New Zealand, Poland and Ghana (forthcoming), and her work has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Danish and Finnish. In 2016 Simbao joined the editorial consortium of the African Arts journal that is associated with UCLA and distributed by MIT Press. For Research Outputs click here.


Christine Dixie

Christine Dixie Staff Photo

BFA (Witwatersrand), MFA (Cape Town)
Senior Lecturer

email: c.dixie@ru.ac.za

Christine Dixie’s work is predominantly focussed on two interlinked concerns, the visual strategies deployed in frontier landscape representation and the narratives used in constructing images of gender. Extending the boundaries of print making as a medium by working in installation and by using a variety of matrix’s and materials, her work is intent on drawing the viewer into a mesmeric yet disquieting space. She was awarded an Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.

Her work is represented in national and international collections including The New York Public Library, The Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, The Johannesburg Art Museum and the Isiko National Art Museum. The installation The Binding, 2010, which examines the relationship between sacrifice and male identity, was acquired by the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Her latest multi-media installation, To Be King will be exhibited at the Venice Biennale this year.


Heidi Sincuba

MFA, (Goldsmiths, University of London)

email: h.sincuba@ru.ac.za

Heidi Sincuba is a South African artist who works in painting, performance, video, installation, the internet and text. The artist experiments with representational and phantasmagorical tools in order to interrogate mental health, the occult and radical sex while assembling the elements of an alternative pictorial cosmos which negates the conceptual vocabulary that exists in the known physical plane.

Heidi Sincuba studied at the University of Cape Town, Artez Arnhem and holds an MFA from Goldsmiths University of London. She has exhibited in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa.


Mbali Khoza

BFA,MFA (Wits)

email: m.khoza@ru.ac.za

Mbali Khoza is a South African artist who works mainly in video, installation and performance, which she uses to translate and express her understanding of language and literature as modes of communication. Khoza has participated in a number of exhibitions, such as the Gwanza 2011-Month Photography at the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (2011), Rechewed at the Centre of Historical Reenactments (CHR) in Johannesburg (2011), group exhibition Out of Thin Air, at the Michael Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town (2012), After After Tears, with CHR at The New Museum, Museum as Hub, New York (2013), Regions A-G, Johannesburg Library (2013), BLINDSPOT at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (2014), the RAW-EC artist in Residency at ViPPA, Rhodes University, Grahamstown (2014), next thing you know, Blank Gallery, Cape Town (2014), Poetics of Relation, LiveInYourHead, Geneva (2015) and What difference does it make who is speaking? at the University of Witwatersrand (2016). She holds a MA degree in Fine Art from the University of Witwatersrand. Her research examined the concept of the ‘artist as author’ by traveling the concept of authorship from literature to artistic practice and the relationship between power and language.  

 Rat Western

BFA,MFA (Wits)
Senior Lecturer

email: n.western@ru.ac.za

Rat Western worked for several years in the advertising industry as a freelance web and print media specialist, and has lectured at the Wits School of Art and Vega School of Brand Communication. Her research interests are in ephemeral, experiential and participative art whether they be digital, installation or performative.  She has exhibited broadly in South Africa and internationally in Florence, Dublin and Rotterdam.  Western has exhibited several times as part of the main programme at the National Arts Festival and has become increasingly interested in site specific collaboration, most notably Discharge (2012) at the Grahamstown Military base with Gavin Krastin and Alan Parker and MACHINE FOR LIVING(2014) with Wesley Deintje which received the Standard Bank Silver Ovation Award for Artistic Innovation, Excellence and the Exploration Of New Performance Styles.  She was the International and News Editor for the online publication ArtThrob from 2006-2010 and has had several articles published in Art South Africa and De Arte.


 Songezile Churchill Madikida

BA, BFA (Wits)

email: S.Madikida@ru.ac.za

Songezile Churchill Madikida was born in the Eastern Cape and obtained his BA (FA) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 2001. As a practicing artist, Madikida’s art has been exhibited both locally and internationally with his first solo art exhibition, Liminal States, at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2003, and his second, Interminable Limbo, at Michael Stevenson in 2004. In 2006 he showed on Olvida Quien Soy - Erase me from who I am at the Centro Atlantico de Arte Moderno in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and was selected for the 7th edition of Dak'Art, the Dakar Biennale and in 2007 for the prestigious Dokumenta art exhibition in Germany. In 2003 Madikida was the joint winner of the Tollman Art Award for a young artist, and in 2006 was named the Standard Bank Young Artist of the year. From 2013 to 2016, he taught Art Theory and Printmaking at the Walter Sisulu University. Currently, Madikida teaches Art History and Visual Culture while also pursuing a MA degree in Art History at Rhodes University.


 Moira Japp

Office Administrator & Stock Controller
email: moira.japp@ru.ac.za


Jan Nell

BFA (Rhodes)
Principal Technical Officer
email: j.nell@ru.ac.za


Cynthia Donyeli

General Attendant (Sculpture and Painting)


Mpumzi Mpati

Technical Studio Assistant (Printmaking Section)

email: m.mpati@ru.ac.za


Last Modified: Tue, 03 Sep 2019 10:20:55 SAST