Naomi van Niekerk


Naomi van Niekerk is a contemporary artist with a background in theater studies (Wits University, Johannesburg), visual arts and puppeteering (Ecole Nationale Supérièure des Arts de la Marionnette, France). She enjoys combining these techniques of storytelling in live performance and often collaborates with musicians and dancers to create eclectic theatre pieces and installations that inlcude her interest in shadow puppetry, drawing and bringing inanimate objects to life. While continuing to tour with different multi-media performance pieces, she is also making animation films, focusing on stop-motion animation and Sand Animation in particular. Between 2015 and 2017 she directed and independently produced three animated short films that were extensively shown at many international film festivals: ‘n Gewone blou Maandagoggend(An ordinary blue Monday), By alle skone dinge (To all things beautiful) and most recently My mamma is bossies (My mum’s bonkers). She won the ‘Jean-Luc Xiberras award’ for the ‘Best First Film’ at the ‘Annecy International Film Festival’ (2016) for her short film An ordinary blue Monday.

Multi-media installations and performances

Naomi has been collaborating with musicians and dancers since 2011 to make interdisciplinary performance pieces that combine animation, live drawing, movement and music. ( She has performed in a variety of venues – gallery spaces, industrial spaces as well as in more traditional theatre spaces. An example: The Impermanence Museum, is a piece that was created in an industrial space in the centre of Johannesburg during which she and a musician recorded and documented movements of the inner city for three weeks and translated their observations into a multi-media video and sound piece.

Dryfsand’s most recent project ‘The Alchemy of Words’ is on the life and work of Arthur Rimbaud staged in partnership with the French Institute of South Africa.  This project is an immersive multi-media experience that combine sand animation, puppetry and original musical compositions on electric guitar.

Besides these installations and performance pieces Naomi regularly  participates in exhibitions with a  variety of  prints (silkscreen, woodblock, drypoint) that are inspired by the imagery from her films.


  • 2017: My mum’s bonkers (3:21)
  • 2016: Heal the Burns (Commissioned film) (3:11)
  • 2015/2016: ‘n Gewone blou Maandagoggend / An ordinary blue Monday (3:24)
  • 2015/2016: By alle skone dinge / To all things beautiful (3:01)
  • 2015/2016: The Impermanence Museum (Mixed media installation) (14:02)