Bev Butkow uses processes of making like weaving and painting to knot and entangle, creating networks of connections that maintain a fragile equilibrium between holding together and unravelling. These entanglements give texture to the experiences that lie sedimented in her artist body, like tension experienced from taking on conflicting roles of career and mothering.

Explore Bev’s catalogue for Investec Cape Town Art Fair 2022.

Investigating socially-encoded expectations of women, women’s labour and a deep exploration of materiality, Butkow creates abstracted woven, stitched, printed and mixed media works. A slow immersion in the in-out meditation of weaving embodies a rebellion from structured control and then being contained again. Enmeshed materials, creative-making processes and personal narrative come together to make meaning of issues around gendered labour and the experiences that become written into female bodies.

Watch Bev’s embodied entanglements video.

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 has recently completed her Master of Fine Arts at Wits University on a scholarship from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Governing Intimacies project. Recent exhibitions include the Dakar Biennale (2022) and her large-scale installation for Tomorrows/Today at the Investec Cape Town Art Fair (2022).

Butkow started making art in her mid-40s and is now a full time artist grounded in the seriousness of her responsibility as an artist, maker, communicator and social actor. 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 sold eggs at the Fresh Produce Market in the 1960s.



  • 2022 Dakar Biennale (Dak’art)
  • 2022 Tomorrows/Today, Investec Cape Town Art Fair
  • 2021 embodied-entanglements/entangled-embodiments, Origins Centre Museum, Wits University, Johannesburg
  • 2020 Investec Cape Town Art Fair
  • 2019 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London
  • 2019 Latitudes Art Fair, Johannesburg
  • 2019 Conversations in Texture, Berman Contemporary, Johannesburg
  • 2018 The Art of Lithography: a collaborative expression of LL Editions, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg
  • 2018 Sister Sister, National Arts Festival, Makhanda
  • 2018 Imposed, Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg
  • 2018 Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg
  • 2016 Contemporary showcase, Gains & Rain, Johannesburg
  • 2016 Cape Town Art Fair, Guns & Rain
  • 2016 Untitled 2.99 and 3.99, 99 Loop Gallery, Cape Town
  • 2016 Young Collectors II, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria
  • 2016 Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards Top 100, Johannesburg
  • 2015, m/other, Lizamore & Associates, Johannesburg

Grants, Residencies and awards

  • 2020 Art: An Essential Need, by artandaboutafrica
  • 2019 Andrew W Mellon: Governing Intimacies Project scholarship
  • 2019 Writing retreat, African Studies Journal
  • 2018 Journal Africa’s top 20 new and exciting talent by Joburg Art Fair 2018 (#FNBJAF20)
  • 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
  • 2020 Ellipses Journal for Creative Research

Bev Butkow on Artsy

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