© 2019 JONI BRENNER

Photography variously by Natasha Christopher, Bob Cnoops, Thys Dullart, James Fox, John Hodgkiss, Greg Marinovich, Liz Whitter and Graeme Williams.

 

Website: Danel van Jaarsveld | Triple M Design

UNAVOIDABLE

This exhibition in 2011 presented portraits of my long-time model and friend Wilson Mootane who died at the beginning of 2010. In the catalogue, I wrote that, ‘The connections between life, death and portraiture have preoccupied me and shaped my artistic practice for many years. Recently these inter-dependant relationships collided and exploded in my world. I’ve worked with one model, almost weekly, for seventeen years. He’s more or less been the only subject I’ve had as an artist: he, and the work I’ve done with two skulls that sit in my studio. His name is Wilson Mootane and his presence and life has fundamen- tally shaped and enabled my own life and my work. 

On the 19th of January last year, he died; and he died in my arms. His death was quite sudden. I had often thought that someone dying in one’s arms must be an awful and terrible thing, but having had the experience of being with Wilson in that moment, I have come to see it as his last gift to me; that event – or crisis – seemed to honour and give particular significance to our long relationship, and to our many years of work together’.