Catherine Ocholla

Catherine Ocholla

Cape Town | 12 artworks for sale

I reflect on the nature of everyday - and in my skyscapes I see the deconstructed shapes of things to come and things that have been - my own veritable 'Sky News'.

BA Fine Art (The Michaelis School Of Art)

Catherine Ocholla was born in Kenya in 1983. She grew up in South Africa and obtained a BA degree in Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 2007.

She has since immersed herself in a number of art related projects that have included the curation of group events and participation in solo and group exhibitions. As a painter, her primary focus is on the sky as a backdrop to humanity’s (mostly self imposed) dramas, with more environmental undertones that point to issues of global warming, land, pollution, etc., and reflection on how we will be remembered by future generations - an attempt to both capture the zeitgeist of this era and imagine different iterations of the future. Like Phillip K. Dick’s ‘Do Androids dream of electric sheep’, she leaves these paintings as a warning of what we stand to lose as we continue to take nature for granted; the sky above us now might be the simulated dream of others in years to come.

Selected Exhibitions:

Solo Exhibition, The Space Between, 29 April - 16 May 2020, StateoftheART Gallery Online

Group Show, Super Nature, 7th June - 23rd June, State of the Art Gallery, Cape Town

Group Show, Trop Comprendre, 3rd October - 30th September, Sulger-Buel Lovell Gallery, London
Top 40 Exhibition, Sanlam Portrait Award, Rust en Vrede Gallery, Bellville


Solo Exhibition, Late night, early morning, World Art Gallery, 6th – 27th October
Group Show, Scapes, State of the Art Gallery, Cape Town, 7th – 23rd July
Group Show, Optical Diversion, Eclectica Design and Art, 5th May – 20th July

Solo Exhibition, Barfly, WorldArt Gallery, Cape Town, 1st October – 3rd November
Cape Town Art Fair, WorldArt Gallery, Cape Town, 26th  February – 1st March


Solo Exhibition, ARIA, StateoftheART, Cape Town, 7th - 23rd August
Solo Exhibition, The Trip, World Art Gallery, 2nd – 30th October

Solo Exhibition, Nothing new under the sun, AVA gallery, Cape Town, 4th – 29th June

Group Show, Turpentyn, Artscape Theatre, Cape Town, 25th Jan - 1st Feb

Group Show, Ways of Seeing, Ore Gallery, Cape Town
Group Show, Smogasbord, Wessel Snyman Creative, Cape Town
Group Show, Tretchikoff and me, Salon 91, Cape Town, 23rd June – 31st July
Group Show, Inverting the Pyramid, Blank Projects, Cape Town, 10th June - 10th July
Solo Exhibition, Wise Cracks, Blank Projects, Cape Town, 5th – 29th May

Group Show, History(n), UCA Gallery, Cape Town, 23rd September - 16th October
Curator, Voight-Kampff, UCA Gallery, Cape Town, 29th July - 21st August
Group Show, Nuance, UCA Gallery, Cape Town
Group show, Supermarket, the Muti Gallery, Cape Town

Group show, Michaelis Graduate Show, UCT, Cape Town
Group show, Headlines, African Studies Gallery, UCT, Cape Town

Group Show, The Cape Town International Biennale, Blank Projects, Cape Town

Group Show, Members exhibition, Association for Visual Arts /AVA, Cape Town

Group Show, Can’t we all just get along, Observatory, Cape Town

Which new trends or South African artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
I am thoroughly enjoying the work of Wim Botha - his exhibition at the Norval Foundation was a revelation.

Which South African deceased artist do you most admire and why?
I’ve had a long standing fascination with the work of Robert Hodgins, who passed fairly recently (2010). Sometimes he is described as an English painter, other times he is South African. Based on my reaction to some of the works that I have encountered at the Cape Town Art Fair, I would say he is top of my list at present. His use of colour is off the charts.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
An original work by Lizza Littlewort from her ‘Almost Famous’ exhibition.

How did you get started? Did you always want to be an artist?
Yes and no. There was a push and pull, and then complete submission to the rollercoaster that is art. Trying not to be an artist is like trying not to breathe (and getting choked at the same time).

What are some of the key themes you explore in your work?
When my gaze first shifted upwards, my focus was more existential and internal. This, combined with a great love for portraiture, nature and social commentary, has led to a desire to combine all the above - a form of story telling, commenting on everything from global warming to science fiction, trying to capture the current zeitgeist. The sky is a pretty good character in its own right or green screen for an entirely different story. I like how it is both abstract and literal.

What should people know about your art that they can’t tell from looking at it?
I don’t really have an answer for this one - it’s more about what people tell me they see in the work that often surprises me.

Tell us more about your creative process.
There are two concurrent processes. The first involves taking my own photographs, in so far as this is possible, and the second involves a lot of internet sourcing, news watching, general curiosity about what’s going on out there. I know when I’ve found what I need when I can’t sleep, because my mind literally refuses to switch off. Then there is the actual painting, which can take a day or two, or weeks. Sometimes years of revisiting. I’d sum up my process as extremes of either manic activity or procrastination.

What drives you as an artist?
You have this vision in your head that you wish to manifest into reality - it’s the greatest feeling when this actually happens - pure….everything.

Do you have a favourite or most meaningful work?
From the series Aria, “Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen” (‘hells vengeance boils in my heart’). It was painted with such ease - no conflict or hair pulling - and just made me immediately happy when it was done.

What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
I would say the works that I’ve started recently, are making me really excited. I have yet to achieve my greatest achievement.

What are your aspirations for the future?
I would like to study further at some point and complete a Master’s degree. I would really like to have that time and environment to just really think about my work and develop a number of ideas …. see them to their endgame.