Selfhelp (2019) – hand-pulled screen print by Octavia Roodt
Emerging artist Octavia Roodt (b. 1995) harnesses the narrative quality of comics to create complex, enchanting spaces and stories – part autobiography, part futuristic cultural myth. Her illustrative style draws on her design training, her habitual practice of sketchbook journaling, and the “ligne claire” (literally ‘clear line’) school of comics that prioritises distinct, uniform line and clarity of form over shading and depth. She employs the devices and themes of this tradition to create worlds populated with personal and local symbols, masculine and feminine archetypes, and references to her Afrikaans poetry and mythology; with the masterful linework coloured digitally in flat, muted pastels.
Roodt’s 50ty/50ty artwork, Self help, visualises psychoanalytic instruments within a fantastical realm, allowing the character to have “somatic experiences with emotion, turning the inner world into a tangible space”. Free from text and context, the narrative exists rather in a parallel time and space, in what the artist describes as a kind of “soft spoken and sensitive memory”.
Roodt is currently pursuing a master’s degree in fine art at the University of Pretoria, where she also teaches part-time. In 2019 she was selected for RMB’s Talent Unlocked programme in partnership with Turbine Art Fair.