GALLERY DIRECTOR & ART ADVISOR
Candice Berman founded Candice Berman Gallery in 2013 and opened Berman Contemporary in 2017. After qualifying for a BA Fine Art degree through the University of Witwatersrand, she chose to pursue a BA degree in Philosophy and English Literature and completed her Honours Degree in English Literature with distinction. Afraid that her raw creativity may be suppressed, she pursued art away from the academic confines of an institution and now directs her focus towards the raw, unpolluted expression of the mind and its contents through art. Her fascination lies with pioneering art movements, particularly that of South African Contemporary Art and Neo-Expressionism – she is passionate about discovering and developing new artists who express a clear, individual voice. As Candice puts it: “I work tirelessly for my artists and love pushing them to the limits to see what emerges.” With a fantastic team at both galleries, Candice continues to apply her keen eye and aesthetic to building young artists and collaborating with collectors and curators alike.
Els van Mourik
Els van Mourik recently joined the Berman Contemporary team as a consultant. Els has her home base in Amsterdam, although she finds many opportunities to visit Johannesburg and the vibrant contemporary African art scene that’s thriving in the city. Els specialises in visual storytelling, which led her to launch the Instagram account African Art Stories in 2008 as a platform to share her fascination for storytelling and contemporary African art. Els found herself falling in love with Africa and the unique perspectives of its people in the early 90s, while working in an Ethiopian refugee camp. In 2008, this latent passion for the continent was revived when Els visited a photographic exhibition in the Netherlands, which pulled her interest back to the African stories waiting to be shared with the world. Els’s formal training was in creative therapy and art education, but it was really the magnetic pull of African contemporary art that shifted her focus more towards art consultancy. She is passionate about engaging with artists and their work by immersing herself in their environment and social context, as she finds the experience enlightening in a much broader ontological sense. As she puts it: “Artists reflect on our existence more than any other members of society. They, in turn, make us think and also shake us out of our habitual thought patterns. Or they touch us beyond the mind, going directly to the heart and soul.” We feel privileged to have Els’s unique and passionate lens added to our perspective on the art being created all around us, especially because of her intense interest in the people behind the work, and the stories that brought them to where they are now. “When I meet people, I am curious about THEIR STORY. Who they are, what adventures they experience, their passion and how they use it at home and in their work. I enjoy seeing the inner fire of people fully lit.”
Morgan Kunhardt completed her BA in Fine Arts at the University of Cape Town – Michaelis School of Fine Art. After completing the degree, Morgan pursued her career in arts management with Berman Contemporary in Johannesburg. While working closely with the team and the artists her focus shifted in the last two years, to the online developments of the gallery.
Morgan is propelled by the arts; her objective is to be part of the globalising Contemporary African Art world, and to act as a catalyst in uplifting the contemporary art scene in South Africa. Through the guidance of Berman Contemporary, she has been able to create a successful connection between the artist and their audiences. Her overall vision and ambition is to create fertile spaces for artists to allow for national and international development and engagement.
Sonja Meyer recently joined the Berman Contemporary team. She developed an interest in the contemporary art scene while studying at Michaelis School of Fine Art – University of Cape Town. Entering the gallery space, she discovered a different perspective on the art world, having come from a family of artists. With the support and guidance of Berman Contemporary, she has combined her interests with a passion for engaging viewers and facilitating new connections between artists and audiences. Sonja believes that South African contemporary art should be shared with and experienced by the wider public, since artists have a unique ability to respond to the complex needs of society. With Berman Contemporary, she aims to foster a deeper appreciation of contemporary art in South Africa and help audiences grasp the stories, intricacies, and cultural aspects behind each piece that is showcased.