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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Keith Joubert

Keith Joubert (1948-2013)

Keith Joubert’s Africa is a journey into the heart and soul of the continent. He has spent a lifetime following his own heart to the remote corners of this land – examining its wealth of biodiversity and culture on a quest to understand its joys and anguish.

He particularly favours the point of conflict where species and ideologies collide. Images combine in riotous colour on large canvasses that seek to unravel the mysteries at the essence of survival for us all.

Born in South Africa in 1948, he studied art at the Johannesburg School of Art then worked as a book illustrator and sign writer, before he began to paint full time whilst living in remote bush camps in Africa.

Currently based in the Selati Game Reserve in Limpopo Province, South Africa – his studio is an open thatched construction overlooking a waterhole. He travels regularly to Botswana, Mozambique, and the great game areas of East Africa.

Joubert works in oil, watercolours, mixed media and occasionally bronze sculptures. His work is shown internationally in Johannesburg, Paris, London, and Reno, USA.

Keith Joubert was born in 1948 in Germiston, east of Johannesburg.

He studied at the Johannesburg School of Art from 1963 to 1967 after which he worked commercially for some years. Since 1970 Keith Joubert, painted African wildlife and the environment. He travelled frequently throughout Southern Africa, but spent most of his time in the Okavango Swamps, Botswana, where he had a houseboat and a studio camp at Linyanti in the northern part.

Keith Joubert's seemingly effortless renditions of Africa with their contemporary vision, impeccable draftsmanship and tonality gain rapidly increasing acknowledgment internationally. His works play on the subtle inter-relationships between different facets in the ecosystem where the diminutive and seemingly innocuous creatures are as essential as the larger animals that evolved within Africa. Joubert also developed a deep fascination with indigenous human cultures which have successfully co-existed with their natural environment for generations.

Keith Joubert lived and painted on the banks of the Linyanti Swamp in Northern Botswana. His studio, like his bedroom, was a tent during winter and a simple tarpaulin during the hot summer months. He also owned a large farm near the northern part of Kruger Park where he was visited by elephants and other teaming game at his open bush studio.

He was a large man with a long beard, strong from a life in the bush where he walked kilometers every day. His closeness with the creatures that inhabit his world stemmed from hours in their company. Often I saw him sitting on his haunches, idly spending the time with a nearby herd of elephants, zebras and the like.

Joubert was one of Africa's most successful contemporary artists. His work hangs in many corporate and private collections worldwide. Success, though, did not complicate his, life and he retained a marvellously carefree and simple existence.Success can bring material gain, but with it often comes unnecessary responsibilities. Joubert emphatically believed in owning as few objects as possible - a good four-wheel drive vehicle as he was a restless man, a tent and a camp bed. Of course he was an artist, so the tools of his trade infested his camp - the finest Belgian flax leant against Marula trees awaiting a layer of paint which sits incongruously in boxes under the tent flap.

- Mark Read

Joubert sadly died in early 2013.

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