Collection: Tarien Bruwer

Tarien Bruwer, (b.1991) is a Cape Town-based abstract artist and designer who works intuitively, relying on her instincts to guide visual explorations of pattern and colour. Her aesthetic is rooted in her multidisciplinary background and showcases a bold and graphic style, which motivates the artist to embrace the endless possibilities of weaving techniques.

Bruwer draws inspiration from the women who came before her and the writings of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Her love of threads, yarns and textiles – passed down from her mother, grandmother and great grandmother – makes her artworks irrevocably autobiographical.

The tactile quality in Bruwer's work is the result of using cotton and polyester threads to create intricate weaves and textures. Different colour interactions unfold as these pieces unveil themselves, reflecting her inner and emotional world. Bruwer opens herself up to and embraces chance and accidental colour harmonies and clashes. The meditative process involved in making these pieces becomes part of the work; a gentle rebellion against the modern women today, described by Estés as “… a blur of activity. She is pressured to be all things to all people.” Since childhood, Bruwer has embraced her art as a healing modality – a way to channel her thoughts, fears, complexities and anxieties in order to move through them. For Bruwer, her art is feelings made tactile.

Bruwer hopes that her work inspires women to practise traditional handwork techniques and crafts. This allows for the opportunity for it to be preserved as medicine, rediscovered as an empowering tool to ground, self-soothe or simply spark joy, or serve as a reminder to take a momentary break from rushed ways of living and honour where we come from.

Bruwer studied at Stellenbosch University and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities (majoring in Psychology and Visual Studies) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Visual Communications, which she completed at AAA School of Advertising, Cape Town. After graduating, she worked in the creative and fashion industries of Cape Town for four years before returning to her roots in the countryside, where she has access to more solitude and time for making art. Bruwer now works from her art studio based in Robertson, where she is attempting to embrace a slower lifestyle. Her current focus is to expand her body of work using thread as a medium.