Mark Making Meets Movement

Tamara Osso

Osso is a Johannesburg based artist living in South Africa. Her work uses the body, and movement, to create huge, dramatic paintings that represent an abstract psychological and emotional process, translated into a visceral, real result. Translating marks into movement, and movement into marks.



The paintings are a celebratory rendering of our “exhale” as a family. They dialogue with everyday rituals which include walking, playing, sitting, painting and watching. They are a reflection on routine; that it could be consistently repeated instead of interrupted by seizures or traumatic events. This concept became the performance for which the paintings began to hold space.


21 May 2022


The Firestation, Rosebank

Arrive 10:30am for 11am

Presented by Lizamore & Associates


Body of work

“Osso’s artworks grapple with the connection between the immediacy of performance and the physicality of painting. In her career, she excelled as a ballet and contemporary dancer and performed with numerous local and international theatre companies before pursuing her studies in the visual arts field. She is a qualified teacher and currently runs workshops from her studio.”

NIRVANA | Body is released

a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth. Also, a 90s rock band characterized by Grunge themes such as social alienation, psychological trauma, and a desire for freedom.


Painting Exhibition
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

Choreographed Production

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

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. 

SUBURBIA | Body is disembodied

Installation with sound, glass, concrete and grass

A piece developed in response to living in a gated community.

Individual hand-blown glass sculptures available

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

ODE TO YVES KLEIN | Body is engaged

Performance piece with paint and canvas

This performance is an acknowledgement to the practice of Yves Klein. His avant-garde, ritualised approach to painting and conceptual gestures have influenced Osso’s exploration of movement and materiality.

VIRTUALLY REAL | Body is removed

Painting exhibition

The first painting exhibition which explored the movement experienced when scrolling through social media platforms like Facebook. It is removed yet intimate all at once.

2 paintings available from this body of work

TOUCHWORKS | Body is here

Ongoing since 2016

Touch-works are paintings on glass developed as physical and emotional check-ins. It is a painting ritual, performed once a week.

“They help me to orientate where my body and mind are and how I am feeling in a particular moment” – Tamara Osso

This piece is titled ‘Nervous’

Various touch-works available 

SELF-PORTRAIT V | Body is engaged

Photographed performance piece with paint on glass

Can the dancer and the painter exist in one space?


Limited edition of 3. Self-Portrait I – V available


Artist Statement

“Osso’s artworks grapple with the connection between the immediacy of performance and the physicality of painting. She explores movement, the tempo of ritual and the rhythms of everyday life as they present in Johannesburg, South Africa. In her career, she excelled as a ballet and contemporary dancer and performed with numerous local and international theatre companies before pursuing her studies in the visual arts. Johannesburg is a city of many limitations (especially for women and people with disabilities) and Osso’s obsession with the dynamism of movement and mark, within such limitations, became emphasised after her son was diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. In 2014 she completed her MAFA degree (with distinction) at WITS University and later, her PGCE certificate (with distinction) in education. She is currently running a teaching studio and making art.”

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.

I’d love to hear from you

Please send me an email

Privacy Policy

3 + 9 =