Artist Ziarah Janssen’s vibrant palette of colours permeates her energetic works, exploring womanhood, herself, and the highs and lows of life. She merges expressive brushstrokes and bold yet smooth lines, creating canvasses brimming with stories.
In her work, the viewer can distinguish two styles. One is a devoted take on the woman as a subject: fluid as dancers, lovers, or mother and daughter. These paintings are more figurative, starting as a sketch, and are characterised by smooth curvature. The other style is intuitive, freehanded abstractions: “I don’t know what I want but I’m looking for the moment it appears. Lots of paint, lots of feeling.”
Ziarah began painting during her third year at the dance academy, drawn out of a party and into an atelier by a family friend who told her, “I think you should paint.” Years later, inspired by the quietness of the world during the pandemic and a political crisis, she found herself immersed in the painting process once again.
Physicality is at the centre of Ziarah’s work, an oeuvre teeming with colour and the playful use of texture. The artist is multidisciplinary: a painter, an actress, formerly a dancer and swimmer, this dynamism is reflected in her works. The anatomy of her subjects provides the launch pad for Ziarah’s vision: the viewer can discern a human body and is treated to a spectacular explosion of shapes and warm colours.
There is a sense of shared experience and intimacy that Ziarah captures in her artworks. She invites the viewer to playfully join on a journey of self-discovery. Connection and collaboration are at the centre, drawing inspiration from the bond with her mother and sister, with whom she collaborates both conceptually and in the production of her work.