Jacques Dhont was born in the Congo in 1959. His parents moved to South Africa in 1967 and settled in Somerset West. After studying painting at the University of Stellenbosch, he completed a double major in painting and sculpture at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) in 1989.
Soon after completing his degree, Jacques moved to the Overberg region where he could work close to nature, living in abandoned farm houses without electricity or running water. It was here that he first started experimenting with the creation of sculptures using woven wattle bark. (The black wattle is an alien and invasive tree species which used to grow in forests on the banks of the Riviersonderend.) Jacques mastered the weaving technique and the works created during this period speak of their inspiration of water and woodlands.
Fascinated with processes of deconstruction and regeneration in Nature, Jacques started to incorporate more natural media as well as found objects. In a series of sculptures created in 2000, bark figures play with a series of “toys” constructed with animal bones and found wire. Some of the figures wear metal masks and sheep skin is woven into the bark to emphasize the opposition between modern and ancient cultures.
Jacques’ fascination with eerie and ancient water creatures was demonstrated in his 2003 exhibition of relief sculptures carved from camphor wood, sometimes painted in vivid acrylic, portraying imaginary or real life forms such as trilobites, star fish and coral.
Jacques has also been experimenting with new media, particularly stone and bronze. He has completed a series of horse heads in bronze, a giant horse head in wonder stone and several sculptures in marble.
For the past couple years Jacques has been living within the beautiful Klein Drakenstein Mountains in Paarl, where he is learning to juggle his art and helping to care for his lively young children.