Dineke Orton :: UJ Art Gallery’s New Curator

“We are thrilled to welcome Dr Orton to the UJ Art Gallery and UJ Arts & Culture. Her innovative ideas and extensive experience in the South African art world resonate deeply with our mission to promote the importance and relevancy of a university art gallery,” stated Pieter Jacobs, Head of UJ Arts & Culture.

With over a decade of active involvement in the South African art scene, Dr Orton has made remarkable contributions, including her role as the visual arts curator for prestigious events such as the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival (KKNK) and Aardklop Arts Festival. Her expertise was further honed during her six-year tenure as the Gallery Manager for the contemporary art gallery Lizamore & Associates.

Dr Orton was affiliated with the SARChI Research Chair in South African Art and Visual Culture at the University of Johannesburg, where her research focused on innovative curatorial strategies for engaging with sensitive topics such as sexual violence.

Notable among her achievements are the award-winning exhibitions she curated, including “Down to Earth” (2020), and the critically acclaimed “Liewe Land”, a groundbreaking intervention initially hosted at the Voortrekker Monument as part of the 2021 Aardklop Festival. The exhibition’s subsequent iterations at the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn in 2022 and, most recently, at the UJ Art Gallery, garnered widespread acclaim.

Speaking about her vision for the UJ Art Gallery, Dr Orton emphasized the importance of a “multi-dimensional touch”, aiming to make art accessible to diverse audiences. She plans to transform the gallery into a welcoming and stimulating space for both experts and novices, while exploring the intersection between art and  technology in alignment with UJ Arts & Culture’s strategic initiatives. Dr Orton’s approach respects the materiality and physicality of art, recognizing its potential as an innovative instrument of learning. “Art has an inherent ability to be an innovative, dynamic instrument of learning, and I intend to use that as a way of contributing to UJ’s presence in the fraternity of higher learning institutes of academic excellence,” concluded Dr Orton.

For further information, please contact Lakin Morgan-Baatjies on lakinmb@uj.ac.za.

About UJ Arts & Culture

UJ Arts & Culture, a division of the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (FADA) produces and presents world-class student and professional arts programmes aligned to the UJ vision of an international university of choice, anchored in Africa, dynamically shaping the future. A robust range of arts platforms are offered on all four UJ campuses for students, staff, alumni and the general public to experience and engage with emerging and established Pan-African and international artists drawn from the full spectrum of the arts.

In addition to UJ Arts & Culture, FADA (www.uj.ac.za/fada) offers programmes in eight creative disciplines, in Art, Design and Architecture, as well as playing home to the NRF SARChI Chair in South African Art & Visual Culture, and the Visual Identities in Art & Design Research Centre. The Faculty has a strong focus on sustainability and relevance, and engages actively with the dynamism, creativity and diversity of Johannesburg in imagining new approaches to art and design education.