About the Artist

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Portrait, landscape and wildlife photographer Veronica Coetzer was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa.  Having discovered an interest in photography at the age of 14, she soon earned acclaim for her distinctive style of studio-based portraiture. But she combined this with a devotion to nature and wildlife, leading photographic safaris to many African countries and even travelling as far as Alaska in pursuit of her passion.  Her works have been exhibited both locally and internationally, often in conjunction with speaking engagements about her life and art.  During her 40 years in the field, Veronica progressively discovered an extra-sensory perception that led her to explore new art forms of surrealist expression in which she removes images from their original context and reassembles them in frameworks inspired by her dreams.  Sometimes paradoxical, often esoteric, these new composites can be provocative, searing or healing in their explorations of the subconscious, but they are always dynamic in their artistic impact.  Veronica has also achieved acclaim for generous contributions of her artworks to charities and wildlife and environmental conservation projects. Veronica have been creating art of peoples dreams for many years, and have worked with WISN, Worldwide Indigenous Science Network, for seven years in Chartres France and once in Egypt, assisting in Dreamwork. Currently 60 years old, she still travels extensively and is engaged in Legacy Stories, which she describes as portraying her clients personal, family and business histories in forms of photographic art.  In addition to developing further her explorations for bringing visual tangibility to the inspirations of the subconscious, Veronica produces conventional artworks on many different mediums such as aluminum, glass, wood and textiles that are used for the interior decoration of homes and offices.  She is married to internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer Lou Coetzer and the couple lives in the town of her birth.

 

(Written by Jacques Sellschop)

Veronica Coetzer

Conceptual Artist & Photographer

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Artist Statement

Since I was a little girl, dreams had an impact on my life.

I was a very quiet child, and never learned how to express in words my dreams, fears and feelings.

I had a scary recurring dream around the age of 6 or 7 and I can still remember it to this day. My mother asked me about this dream at the time, as it was more of a nightmare, and it always left me upset. I remember that I could only explain to her that I was seeing colors and I tried to explain what I now know was textures. 

Nobody knew the fact that in that period of time I was molested / abused by my grandfather. When I was 16 years old I had meningitis, and I was drifting in and out of consciousness. Some of the elements in image 2 was what my family told me that I said and did while in that state. I also have vivid memories of dreams during the illness. 

After my father passed away in 2005, actually, the day my father died, I was ready to 

tell the story of my life, of why I was always quiet, and why I was sick most of the time. I had no words and had to make pictures.

 

Most images that I have created came to me in dreams. Some after hypnotherapy sessions. Sometimes I would create an image, not really knowing exactly what I was trying to say, but then after some time I would dream of the image and the answer would become clear. Many of my dream artworks are layered. On the surface it would seem that it was inspired by music or a song, or poetry. It would make it easier for me to tell people what it was about, should they ask, as it was still very difficult, mostly impossible to open up about the deeper underlying meanings. Some of it have a third hidden meaning, and I would use an element to symbolize that. One of the artworks have never been disclosed to anyone before. It is the dream that I mentioned I had as a very young child with the colors and textures.

 

When, in 2008, I was asked to talk about the art that I have created, I had to write it down in words for myself. This is some of what I wrote:

 “It is about being a child and being a parent. About being a lover. To love and to be loved. The joy and sorrow of life. The devastation of denying oneself to mourn loss.

How embracing pain can relieve hurt. The maze to make sense of, the masks to discard. To forgive to be able to heal.”

 

 

I recently had the incredible experience of dreaming of a collective dream artwork that I have done of other people’s dreams. I could see myself walk inside the artwork, and through some of the images. I loved that!

 

Through dreams and making pictures I have arrived at a place of gratitude and complete forgiveness of my grandfather. I love how my life experiences shaped me to now make pictures of other people’s dreams.