Bev Butkow

31.5″x39.4″; dress fabric collaged onto scrap upholstery fabric; 2010

Bev Butkow
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa


I am on a journey to learn, explore, develop.

To constantly improve the quality of my work.

I frequently experiment–making every day unique, challenging and juxtaposing regular disappointment with exhilaration.

Above all, my art has a social conscience. My subject matters include such topics as homelessness; the disenfranchised, abandoned or vulnerable members of South African society; environmental awareness; cross-cultural interactions.

I have been privileged to live my entire life in Joburg; the city frames my perspectives on both life and the art I make. Through my art I want to reflect and open a dialogue on all aspects of this complex city and its inhabitants. The layering and fragmentation of my images relate to humanity’s existential challenge; as well as social fragmentation.


The poet Sarah Kay said “I write poetry to help me work through things I don’t understand.” That’s what art is for me–peeling layers of an onion; using the process to break an issue down until I can better understand it.

My life experiences frame my art–middle-class Jewish upbringing in pre- and post-Apartheid South Africa; close-knit family; as well as 15 years in Corporate Finance.

Having no formal art education, I’ve had to cobble together a custom-made art education. I’m privileged with the support and guidance of insightful mentors who guide my journey of learning, exploring and constantly working to steadily improve the quality of my work.

I work from my NewARC studio at Assemblage, a block from the original fresh produce market in Newtown, Johannesburg where my adored grandfather peddled eggs. I also work collaboratively with up-coming Ugandan artist Benon Lutaaya at the Bag Factory. I recently exhibited at The Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg, South Africa.

A portion of each sale I make goes to supporting one of my designated causes –education, upliftment of vulnerable children, homelessness and the local visual arts industry.


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47″x35.4″; vinyl collaged onto clear plastic sheeting; 2013

What’s Left Unsaid I
31.5″x20″; vinyl collaged onto clear plastic sheeting; 2013