JAN VERMEIREN

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Jan Vermeiren , born 1949 in Belgium is a South-African artist working in oil, lithography, etching and mural painting.

Art studies 1968-71 Koninklijke Academic Antwerp, Belgium and 1971-74 Koninklijke Academic en de Hogere Instituten, Antwerp, Belgium, where he attained a Degree in Graphic Art. Student of Geert Reusens and the sculptor Lode Eyckermans. 

He then became a lecturer at the Technical College for Advanced Education in Cape Town (1981–87) where he joined an artist group with Alfred Krentz, Marthinus la Grange, Erik Laubscher, Claude Bouscharain and Stanley Pinker. Since 1977 he has lived permanently in South Africa, now in Cape Town. 

Jan Vermeiren is an artist whose work bridges two rich and vastly different cultures. On the one hand there is his European heritage, on the other, the profound influence of Africa, which is now his home. This duality brings an exciting and unusual dimension to his work. His images reveal a series of archetypal symbols derived from various ancient cultures, reflecting his belief that it is these ‘primitive’ symbols that unite man across time and different civilisations. His aim is to bring the viewer into the spirit of Africa, to encourage a better understanding of the African identity. 

Jan Vermeiren from a very early age drawing was an important means of expression for him and he began formal art training while still at school. Later he studied full time at the Academy St. Niklaas and the Academy of Mechelen, and then at the National Hoger Institute in Antwerp. As a student, printmaking was his special interest, and it was only when he moved to South Africa in 1976 that he became a painter. His decision to move came after he had spent a year in the country during 1973/4 when he was invited to teach lithography. He was profoundly influenced by the extensive range of colours which he found here, after the relative greyness of Belgium. These ‘African’ colours are very evident in his work – both in the early tones, and in the dark, atmospheric backgrounds, which appears in his more recent work. His work is now considered a vivid element of the post world-war South African art scene generating a European view to traditional South-African culture. Illustrator of children’s books and periodicals. Hallmarks of his career are a consignment for the painting “Gift in Africa” as gift from the Flemish Government to South African President Nelson Mandela (1997), an exhibition of paintings for the Millennium Exhibition in Cape Town (1999) and an exhibition of oil paintings in the South African pavillon at EXPO 2000 in Hannover, Germany (2000). One of his scholars, John van Reenen later became a world record holder for discus throwing. van Reenen lectured at the University of Stellenbosch on etchings and as an artist found some success with sales across the United States of America and throughout South Africa. 

Jan Vermeiren is profile Member of the SAAA, Cape Town Branch and member of the South African Artists Guild.

He has participated in numerous group exhibitions from 1969 held in Belgium, Yugoslavia, SA, the USA, West Germany and SWA/Namibia.  Several solo exhibitions in Belgium including Antwerp, more than 10 solo exhibitions in South.