Bev Butkow

South Africa

Coming from a place of supreme organisation and structure, as a trained accountant,  Bev Butkow’s (b. 1967) work explores how a sustained process of making objects exposes the experience of the gendered labouring body.


View Bev’s fair catalogues:

Investec Cape Town Art Fair February 2020

1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair London October 2019

Latitudes Art Fair Johannesburg September 2019.

You can also follow Bev on Artsy.


Investigating socially-encoded expectations of women, women’s labour and its invisibility, Butkow creates abstracted woven, stitched, printed and mixed media works. Enmeshed materials, creative-making processes and the work of hired studio assistants come together to make meaning of issues around gendered labour and the experiences that become written into female bodies. The materials Butkow uses (such as dishcloths) are socially coded. Simultaneously, her creations embody the women who labour and weave them, as well as consider the power hierarchy between artist and co-creators.


The female body is foregrounded as a sedimentary site of knowledge, accumulated through the micro-events of the day-to-day. With their coded surfaces, Butkow’s objects are layered stories and a mapping of contemporary life.

Butkow is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at Wits University on a scholarship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Governing Intimacies project.  Recent exhibitions include The Art of Lithography, Wits Art Museum (2019) and FNB Joburg Art Fair (2018).  She will exhibit at 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair London in October 2019.


Butkow started making art in her mid-40s and is now a full time artist. Deeply committed to social engagement and education, she co-founded a library in Limpopo and sits on the board of 11 schools. Born and living in Johannesburg with her husband and four children, her creative home is the Bag Factory Artist Studios, blocks away from where her grandfather peddled eggs at the Fresh Produce Market in the 1950s and 60s.

Exhibitions, Awards & Collections

Solo exhibition:

2015, m/other, Lizamore & Associates, Johannesburg

Selected group exhibitions:

2019 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, with Guns & Rain

2019 Latitudes Art Fair, Johannesburg, with Guns & Rain

2019 Conversations in Texture Berman Contemporary, Johannesburg

2019 Tête-à-tête, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg

2018 The Art of Lithography: a collaborative expression of LL Editions, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg (forthcoming)

2018 Joburg Art Fair

2018 Sister Sister, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown

2018 Imposed, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg

2018 Remembering 60 000 forced goodbyes, Sanlam Art Lounge, Johannesburg

2018 Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg

2017 Joburg Art Fair

2017 35 Years : Trailblazers, Lizamore & Associates, Johannesburg

2017 Common Ground, Trent Gallery, Pretoria

2017 Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg

2016 Cape Town Art Fair, Lizamore & Associates

2016 Art State, Galerie NOKO, Port Elizabeth

2016 Untitled 2.99 and 3.99, 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town

2016 Young Collectors II, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria

2016 District Six 50th Commemorative Print Exchange Portfolio Project, District Six Museum, Cape Town

2016 Post-Its, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg

2016 Contemporary showcase, Gains & Rain, Johannesburg

2016 Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards Top 100 exhibition, Kempton Park, Johannesburg

2016 Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg

Awards & grants:

2019 Recipient of Andrew W Mellon: Governing Intimacies (GI) Project scholarship

2019 Writing retreat by the peer-reviewed journal “African Studies”

2018 Included as one of Africa’s top 20 new and exciting talent by Joburg Art Fair 2018 (#FNBJAF20)

2017 Post-Graduate Merit Award, University of Witwatersrand

2016 Johannesburg Council Chamber Totem Public Art Competition

2016 Post-Its, Constitution Hill, Johannesburg

2015 Fresh Produce, Turbine Art Fair 2015, Johannesburg

2015 Top 5 finalist, SA Taxi Foundation Art Award

2015 Winner Assemblage Postcard Competition

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