Visual Art

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… is considered to be at the forefront of places to study Visual Art / Fine Art in South Africa. It provides an exciting, explorative space in which we develop our students’ creative, imaginative, technical and critical knowledge. We include both practical skills and academic research capabilities which enable students to practice as artists, work within varied domains of the visual-cultural industries, and/or to engage in postgraduate study in Visual Art and Art History.

We equip students with thorough, hands-on knowledge of art practice in diverse media including Drawing, Painting, Sculpture, Printmaking, Digital Photography, Videography, Installation, Cross-, Inter- and Digital Media, Professional Practice, Work-intergrated Learning, etc., facilitating the creation of meaning through intelligent manipulation of materials and strong conceptual development. We encourage experimentation with transformative and inter-disciplinary approaches to the making, reception and analysis of art within pan-African and international contexts. Thus, our programs’ focus, on both creative and critical thinking, is demonstrated through our students’ engagement with theoretical, historical and contemporary discourses, and research methodologies.

DoVA’s highly experienced staff are leading artists, teachers, curators, academics, art historians, published authors and community project managers. With such skill and experience available to the student body, most graduates have confidently entered the diverse visual-culture industries with many forging notable and successful careers as international artists.


… are particularly suited to students who desire to become practicing artists. The Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art (BAVA) is an agile, 3-year Bachelors degree, and leads to stand-alone Honours, Masters and two PhD qualifications. The Department also offers an Honours in Art Therapy (view the 2020 Newsletter here) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) more details of which can be found here.

Since becoming the University of Johannesburg in 2005, the Department’s staff have published widely in national and international books and journals while also supervising postgraduate students of the highest calibre. In the last few years, TEN of our Masters graduates have received the Chancellor’s Medal for meritorious postgraduate-level research. This is an unprecedented achievement in the Faculty. See our 2021 MAVA Brochure here.

Prof. Brenda Schmahmann is the SARChI Research Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture which is hosted in the Faculty. This prestigious Center serves as a forum for Honours, Masters and Doctoral research and for Postdoctoral Fellows.


DoVA is one of South Africa’s oldest art schools, having begun as the School of Arts and Crafts in 1926. It has been the home of some of the country’s finest artists and scholars.

The Department counts amongst its alumni: Walter Battiss (1927/1929), Terence McCaw (1930-33), Sidney Goldblatt (1940), Douglas Portway (1940-41); Cecily Sash (1943-48), Dirk Meerkotter (1944), Cecil Skotnes (1946), Claude van Lingen (1949-52), George Boys (1950-53 ), Lionel Abrams (1951-53), Hannes Harrs (1957-1960), Trevor Coleman (1958-1960), Wendy Vincent (1960-61), John Meyer (1960), Geoffrey Armstrong (1963), Paul Stopforth (1964-67), Johan Moolman (1970-73), Dr. Willem Boshoff (1970-74/80-84), Willem Strydom (1972-75), Dr. Philippa Hobbs (1973-75, 2015-2020), Doris Bloom (1972-74), Clementina van der Walt (1976-77/83-84), Wilma Cruise (1984-85), Peter Mthombeni (1984-87), Günther Herbst (1988-91), Robin Rhode (1995-98), Dr. Carol Hofmeyr (1997-2000), Turiya Magadlela (1999-2001), Nicholas Hlobo (1999-2002), Dr. Same Mdluli (2002-05), Lerato Shadi (2002-05), Lawrence Lemaoana and Mary Sibande (both 2002-4/2007) and Lebohang Kganye (2014-16).

Read exciting news on our recent and past graduates here
Read the FADA 2021 brochure here