top of page

Jess Holdengarde (b.1991) is a South African artist who works predominantly in photography, film and auto fictional narrative. Jess’s current practice investigates the entangled relationship of precarity and temporality with the natural environment. Through the consideration of her subject and the materials she uses, Jess considers the role of a lens-based practitioner in an ecological crisis. Her process creates a counter narrative to the natural world being separate and opposed to humans whilst challenging binary knowledge systems that reject the very reality of our intertwined existence . Jess has recently focused on combining plant based chemistry, queer ecology and auto ethnographical experiences in order to make sense of the world we  co-exist within. The artist utilises  the natural environment - as both a subject and a resource - to explore a deeper understanding of the role of an  artist in environmental ruin.


2016    Bachelor’s of Fine Art (Distinction in Studio Work) Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town

2021    Masters in Fine Art (Distinction), The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, UK 


Group Exhibitions

2013    Rhodes Student Exhibition Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape

2014    Where The Wild Things Are, Curated by Nina Liebenberg, Michaelis Upper Gallery. Cape Town, SA

2015    LunchBox, The Eye Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2016    In bed with Series/Friends, performance with Dr Alexandra Ross, World Art Gallery, Cape Town, SA

2016    Orms Staff Show, CTSP, Cape Town, South Africa

2016    By Way of Hand, CTSP, Cape Town, South Africa

2017    Out Of Nowhere, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town, SA

2017    Redemptive Beauty, Eclectica Gallery, Cape Town, SA

2017    Orms Staff Show, CTSP, Cape Town, South Africa

2017    Re (union), Art.b Gallery, Belleville, SA.

2017    Salad, Summer Group Show, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town, SA

2018    Close Encounters Group Show, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town, SA

2018    Meditative Moments, Group Show, Gallery One11, Cape Town, SA

2018    Summer Group Show, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town, SA Art Fairs

2018    Investec Cape Town Art Fair with SMITH Gallery, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town, SA

2019    Emphatic Whispers, Group Show, SMITH Gallery, Cape Town. SA 

2019    Someone You Love Has an Abortion Story to Tell, Constitution Hill, Women's Jail, Johannesburg, SA

2021    The 195th RSA Annual Exhibition, The Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, UK. [online]

2021    Hot Wheels, GSA MFA Showcase, The Glue Factory, Glasgow, UK 

2021    In Process, an exhibtion by Fix Photography Collective and GSA, The Glasgow Art Club, Glasgow, UK 


2021     a holding place, Collaborative Publication with Glasgow based artist, Lydia Davies, Glasgow, UK

2021     Dreaming Lockdown, ongoing video project with Glasgow based artist, Beth Shapeero, Glasgow, UK

2020   What's the name of that yellow flower (Temporal Landscapes), in conversation with Catrin Menai, The Old Hairdressers, Glasgow, UK (Supported by GSA Sustainability Award)  

2020    Recantations, in collaboration with Kate Holford, The Savings Bank, Glasgow, UK.    


2017    Zeits Mocca personal collection, bought from the Michaelis Silent Auction, hosted by Eclectica Contemporary, Cape Town, South Africa.

Residencies and Internships

2017    Berlin Art Institute, Berlin, Germany 

2018    Warren Editions, Printmedia Internship, Cape Town, South Africa 

2022    Artist in Residence, Ilali Collective, Berlin, Germany (Supported by Creative Scotland) 


Inkcubeko Nezobugcisa NPC, Xhosa language LGBQT ACTIVATION SESSIONS, 2021

Xhosa speaking photographic activation sessions for LGBQT creatives in South Africa by an Initiative in Woodstock, Cape Town. This has been I worked with the initiative on a consultation basis helping them design a sustainable community project. This is currently taking place on a bi-weekly basis.

Art+Feminisim Activation Sessions

Co-host with Dr Alexandra Ross for a series of online and in person wiki-edit-a-thons for the Art+Feminism Campaign. The organisation is committed to closing information gaps related to gender, feminism, and the arts, beginning with Wikipedia.We hosted our first session in South Africa together in 2016, and have hosted a series of events in South Africa and Glasgow each year.


2022   Creative Scotland Open Fund for Ecologies of Perception Project 

2020   Re-rewarded The Oppenheimer International Memorial Scholarship

2019   The Oppenheimer International Memorial Scholarship

2019   The Glasgow School of Art Governor's International Scholarship

2017   Shortlisted for Arts and Thread Future Creator Award

2016   Degree with Distinction in Studio Work, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, SA

2016   Humanities Scholarship, University of Cape Town, SA


FIX photographic Collective, 2021  

Christina Mcbride and I are in the process of establishing a photographic collective in Glasgow called FIX Photography Collective. Our aim is to create a resource and alternative educational space which has more concern for the environment and community. The Collective will have a number of key aims which includes: A specific focus on analogue practices and building/establishing a resource which promotes more sustainable analogue practices and materials.Establishing a community-based darkroom which provides a resource and alternative educational space for lens-based practices.

bottom of page