Zandri Oosthuysen - Dressed/Undressed

Zandri Oosthuysen


Zandri Oosthuysen (b. 1991) is a South African Artist. Oosthuysen studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, obtaining a master’s degree in art history in 2016 as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Hons) in 2014. Working predominantly with oils, ink, and charcoal, Oosthuysen’s work explores the transience of life, mortality, and death. Her work reflects her interest in ‘memento mori’, a subject closely related to Vanitas still life - the Baroque genre featured symbols pointing to mortality. Rather than depicting human skulls, she refers to animal remains. Mesmerised by the varying textures, forms and colour of the animal remains, Oosthuysen refers to skulls, flesh and bones to contemplate mortality and flesh out ideas of life and death. Oosthuysen has participated in several group exhibitions and the Turbine Art Fair, the most recent being Clusterplak? How Bazaar! at Daor Contemporary (2023-2024), Summer Salon at the Bag Factory (2023) and SURP By NYC at the New York Academy of Art (2023). Her work has been commissioned and acquired for several private collections.

Artists Statement

Memento Mori /Caro et Ossa (Flesh and bones)

In my work, I explore mortality and death. My work reflects my interest in memento mori – the Latin phrase meaning ‘remember you will die’. This subject, closely related to Vanitas still life, was prevalent during the Baroque. The genre featured symbols pointing to mortality - encouraging reflection on the transience of life. Rather than illustrating typical human skulls, I refer to animal remains – specifically skulls, flesh, and bones – to flesh out these ideas of life and death. This fascination stems from processing my own mortality, which is further emphasised by my health issues. While my choice of imagery is also driven by the imagery I see in my nightmares, I am mesmerised by animal remains, their varying textures, forms, and colour. Through repetitive study, I use their remains as a still life to contemplate mortality. As the animal remains decay, so too will my body decay in death – we are flesh and bones. I therefore use their remains as mirroring our mortality. Through this, I attempt to make sense of death - the finality of it, ceasing to exist. I’m also interested in the significance of ‘remains’ - that what remains after death, that what we associated with life, is now lifeless.

  • Zandri Oosthuysen - Dressed/Undressed
  • 2023
  • Oil on Fabriano Tela oil paper
  • 40 x 30 centimeters
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