In my work I attempt to both unravel and knit together my experience of the domestic space and in more recent years my experience of motherhood.

 My work is situated in a space between multiple binaries: the comfortable and the awkward; the controlled and uncontrolled; the familiar and the strange; exteriority and interiority. It is in this strange space that I find myself exploring ideas around bodily autonomy, subjectivity, work, worth and taboo.

My materials are noticeably varied and reflect my interest in oppositions.  Repetitive, laborious acts which mimic the tedium of domestic chores, accidents, destruction and re-assembling all play an important role in how I explore my relationships within the domestic sphere and my role as a mother, a wife, a human being. The performative nature of my art making process often reflects the busyness of women’s-work to expose the constant labour of parenting, the time-consuming, seemingly endless repetition of trifling tasks that is required within a domestic setting.

Through the use of traditional oil painting, sculpture, watercolour, ceramics, photography and embroidery I try to lead the viewer towards an experience of my uncanny



Ilené Bothma was born in 1981 in Port-Elizabeth, South Africa. She received a BA in Fine Art (with distinction) in 2003 and an MA in Fine Art, in 2007, both degrees from the Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She received a second MA in Fine Art (with distinction) in 2011 from Northumbria University in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom.

Bothma started exhibiting as a student and her work has regularly featured in group exhibitions since 2000. She has shown both locally and internationally and has had six solo exhibitions. She has been nominated as a finalist in the Sasol New Signatures Competition, the Vuleka Art Competition, as well as in the 2016 Barclays L’Atelier.

 Her solo exhibition, Weird Marriage, at the AVA gallery, was considered by the Mail and Guardian as “a beautifully intimate exhibition about the culture of family” (17 May 2013). And it is family in all its domestic glory, specifically the role of the mother that forms a significant part of her art practice.      

Bothma lives and works in Cape Town with her husband and two children.