About the Artist
Anitra Nettleton, professor Emeritus at the University of the Witwatersrand was instrumental in
founding, in 1978, the Standard Bank Art Collection now housed in WAM (Wits Art Museum). She
was Professor of History of Art in the Wits School of Arts from 1998 -2011 and thereafter the Chair
and Director of the Centre for Creative Arts of Africa at the Wits Art Museum until her retirement in 2016.
She taught at Wits University for 35 years. She is the author of several books including
‘African Dream Machines-Style, Identity and Meaning of African Headrests’ (Wits University Press
2007) and has published many articles in international and local journals and written numerous
chapters for inclusion in books. She has chaired many conferences as well as presenting papers at
local and international conferences.
On retirement, Nettleton began to focus on making objects from clay, having pursued ceramic
courses in her youth. She has become fascinated with the minutiae of nature and the beauty of the
natural world, especially flowers, insects and other crawling and flying creatures. Her transformation
of these objects into sculptural forms, enables her to combine functional form with exuberance and
Her focus lies on the contrast between the imagined and crafted with the natural, the ephemeral
and reality, as we see it. Flowers are seen to be reminiscent and evocative of parts of our
disappearing world, of which we take so much for granted.
Nettleton’s Flower Vases are intended to be perceived as sculptures of celebration, exuberance and