Lyrene Kühn-Botma

Lyrene Kühn-Botma is an artist and researcher working with and combining traditional printing media, drawing and digital drawing in her art practice. Her explorations on paper and digital media involve the investigation of grief, mourning, and video games to explore the new and alternative ways we grieve in contemporary, technologically driven societies. She is currently employed as a Junior Lecturer at the Fine Arts Department of the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

In 2021 the artist received her M.A. Fine Arts degree (cum laude) at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and received the prestigious Dean’s medal award for the highest achieving master’s degree in the entirety of the faculty of the Humanities. She has participated in many exhibitions as well as national competitions in South Africa, being a semi regular finalist for the SASOL New Signatures art competition since 2013. The artist had opportunities to exhibit internationally in 2019 as part of the NEXUS Transnational exposition in Brighton, United Kingdom. She also participated in group exhibitions such as Speaking out and Standing up: An exhibition in honour of courageous South African women at Oliewenhuis art museum in Bloemfontein in 2018.

Her work is included in the University of the Free State art collection, the MAPSA collection, as well as permanently exhibited at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.

Artist Statement

I work with and combine traditional printing media, drawing and digital drawing in my art practice. My studio research on paper and digital media involves the investigation of personal contemporary grief and bereavement, specifically the individual and collective iterations created and followed in mourning. This interest in death studies is further shared with an interest in video games, and how these two disparate experiences (grief and play) connect in distinctive ways as newly created contemporary practices in mourning.

I investigate the difficult, unique, and communicative iterations of contemporary grief on multiple platforms – every day and digital sites – through artworks that are made using traditional as well as contemporary methods. I include experiences of grief relative to personalised sites and places, video game experiences connected to grief and death, as well as contemporary technological devices and other objects associated with personalised grief. These personal experiences are investigated to explore the visual ways in which experiences of loss and trauma have been communicated through the conduits available in technologically-driven societies, and how these new experiences provide novel empathetic experiences of loss.