Tamara Osso is a Johannesburg-based artist whose work explores a trail of connections between painting, dance and other forms of movement. Drawing deeply on her personal experience as a professional dancer and as a mother to a child with a disability, she is interested in how different kinds of movement are available to different bodies in different contexts. For Osso, physical movement is a form of embodied research, and in her painting practice she looks for ways to draw connections between the dynamism of the body and visual languages
Making Grass | Body is active
In this exhibition of new drawings and prints, Osso draws on interdisciplinary collaborations and acts of collective imagining to explore how dance and drawing can augment each other.
1 July – 31 July
Mon – Fri: 9:00 – 18:00
Sat: 9:00 – 13:00
Bodies of work
Osso’s artworks grapple with the connection between the immediacy of performance and the physicality of painting. Before pursuing a career as a visual artist, she excelled as a ballet and contemporary dancer and performed with numerous local and international theatre companies. She is a qualified teacher and currently runs workshops from her studio.
PARADISE OF NORMALITY | Body is healing
The below body of work was developed during Lockdown after Osso’s son Tyler had brain surgery to correct medical resistant seizures. Tyler had suffered debilitating seizures for 6 years prior to the surgery. Osso describes this time in their lives as a disorder of anticipation because the family lived in a constant state of emergency. Post his operation the seizure stopped, allowing respite from the tension. Osso describes this new state of being as, “a recognition of simple structures and rhythms previously unseen during traumatic times” –
NIRVANA | Body is released
In the Buddhist tradition, Nirvana is the name of a transcendent state in which there is no suffering, desire, or sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. Outside of that tradition, Nirvana is also a 90s rock band characterized by “grunge” themes such as social alienation, psychological trauma, and the desire for freedom.
DISORDER OF ANTICIPATION | Body is stressed
2018 – 2020
The Disorder of Anticipation Series is a psychological exploration of paint in relation to chaos, sadness and trauma. All of which are present when living with a person who suffers from epilepsy.
This piece is titled ‘Seizure’ (framed) – available for purchase
TUTU | Body is seeking
Tutu is a short story written and produced for Dance Umbrella 2017 by Tamara Osso. In collaboration with Shanell Winlock, Laura Cameron, Kgotsofalang Moshe & Nathan Attie Botha from Moving into Dance Mophatong. The story is about reorganising social, cultural and personal structures. The challenges people face and the impact of their responses to those challenges.
Tea Before The Last Supper | Body is Playing
Tea Before the Last Supper is a photographic performance which was born from a process of choreography during the making of Gina Nunes’ performance piece titled, The Last Supper. The process of choreographing gestural movements for 12 people (disciples) who were not physically present at the time became absurd. It reminded me of the chaotic hysteria of The Mad Hatters Tea Party scene in Alice in Wonderland.
The photograph displays two women/ artists/ mothers dressed in top hats and bunny ears frantically serving a never-ending supply of tea. The piece is both a commentary on the patriarchal stillness of The Last Supper image as well as its exclusion of women. In Osso’s version there is no time for betrayal and the characters are not concerned that there might be someone important sitting in the middle.
PREGNANT | Body is consumed
Installation with convex safety mirrors
This installation piece was produced when Osso was pregnant. It explores how growing a fetus inside one’s body forces an examination of one’s external reality. The experience is alien.
Available for purchase
A Maker & a Teacher
If you are a self-taught artist still searching for your true expression, I believe I can help. I have a Masters Degree in Fine Arts and have been a practicing artist for 20 years.
ARE YOU INTERESTED IN MY WORK?