Thamgidi Award was given to Johan van der Schijff at the Spier contemporary exhibition

Johann van der Schijff is an artist living and working in Cape Town, South Africa. As a senior lecturer at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, he teaches new media in the undergraduate degree as well as doing postgraduate supervision.Previously he was involved with setting up the multimedia programme at the University of

Johannesburg. Before entering the academic world he worked as creative director at Shift Interactive Communications and as computer animator at Delapse and Haptics in Johannesburg.

He holds a Master of Fine Art (new media) awarded in 1997 by the Frank Mohr Instituut, (previously Media-GN & SCAN), Academie Minerva, Hanze University for Professional Education, Groningen, The Netherlands; a Master of Fine Art (sculpture) (1994), University of Cape Town; and a Bachelor of Fine Art, University of Pretoria (1990). His

sculptural/new media works have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

Johann’s research interests are in the areas of computer-aided design and manufacturing techniques and the design of interactive systems. Growing up in South Africa and living in a violent country and continent, questions of power relations in society underlie much of his work, forcing the viewer into a position of choice in their engagement with his artworks, as examined in Power Play and Dak’Art 2008.

The Arm-Wrestling Podium (AWP) is a public sculpture acting as a communal platform where disputes can be settled for once and for all, in view of the public, by means of the physical act of arm wrestling. Its application, by the nature of being a public sculpture in South Africa, is obviously much wider than the art scene and could be used as a way to find closure on political disputes where negotiation has reached a stalemate.

He is currently working towards a major new solo exhibition.