Angela Banks is a fine artist living and working in Johannesburg. She received a BA (Fine Arts) in 1999 and MA (Fine Arts) in 2003 from the University of Pretoria. She has since exhibited in various group and solo shows and has been on residencies in both France and China. These residencies afforded her the opportunity to engage with European as well as Eastern art, artists, galleries and exhibits and allowed her to exhibit internationally too.

Banks is inextricably connected to the portrait as subject, both human and animal, and is in constant pursuit of what lies behind the projection of the outer appearance of a subject. She describes her work as ‘a surface search for the hidden reality or identity of the individual, the real story behind the facade’.

The conflict between masquerade and truth, with regards to identity, stems from studies she did delving into Mikhail Bakhtin’s carnival theory. He differentiates between the ‘official’ world where one has a true and real official identity, and the carnival world that allows one an unofficial, ‘made up’ identity. Banks finds that much of life is a type of masquerade, where the ‘made up’ has become common place. The disguise is aided by the various masks we adorn ourselves with in order to feel accepted or powerful or ‘good enough’. In previous works the artist worked with hybrid human/animal figures, where the animal head became the mask worn to either hide or enhance the individuals identity. In her latest body of work, the animal becomes the subjects companion, confidant, or counterpart.

The depiction of the relationship between human and animal stems back to our prehistoric ancestors who shared their world in paint on cave walls. As John Berger notes, our first paintings and symbols were of animals and paradoxically ‘what distinguished man from animals was born out of our relationship with them’. It therefore makes sense to Banks that visually juxtaposing human and animal exposes many large and small intricacies of our humanity. Who we are at our core is evident in who we are like, or not like, in the animal world. Banks likes to look at the relationship created by the human figure and animal creature cast together within a specific space or context, in order to discover more about the character and hidden truths of the painted person.

In her work, Banks aims at capturing in permanent paint, a beautiful yet impermanent moment in time. Her meticulous attention to detail and form produce whimsical narratives of identity through the idiosyncratic relationships between human and animal.


  • Reginald Turvey Award: 1999
  • Franken Award for 4th year student with ‘most varied and impressive body of work’
  • Puniv Bursary for Masters degree at University of Pretoria
  • Chosen to represent South Africa at the ‘Focus on African Culture’ Exhibition, China 2008
  • Top 40 in SPI National Portrait Award
  • Finalist in Circle Foundation Artist of the Year 2019


  • Unisa- Portrait of Chairman
  • Reserve Bank- Portrait of Gill Marcus
  • University of Pretoria
  • Bahai Spiritual Assembly
  • Stuttaford Van Lines Collection
  • Rhodes University: Graphic Printmaking collection
  • Art House Gallery
  • Transnet
  • Shenzhen Fine Art Institute, China
  • Ministry of Culture, China


Banks, A; Van Eeden, J. 2002. The odds on art in Casino Paintings. Communicatio, University of South Africa


  • 2006 Residency at the Cite Des Internasionale, Paris France- 2 months
  • 2008 Residency in Schenzen, China- 2 months and group exhibition with 5 African artists hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Culture

Exhibitions (selection)


Online group show ‘Still’- Everard Read Gallery

Online group show ‘Easter’- Association of Arts

Online group show ‘Phantasmagoria’ – Lizamore & Associates

‘Journey of the  mind’. Group show at Everard Read, Franschhoek



Solo show ‘Deep in the Quiet’- Everard Read Gallery Franschhoek

Finalist Award in Circle Foundation Artist of the year competition



Commisioned to paint Academic portrait of Chairman of UNISA

2 man show- ‘Wool gathering’- Trent Gallery- Pretoria

7 Women show- ‘Balancing the Acts’- Tina Skukan Gallery

Drawing exhibition (August) curated by Diane Victor- Pretoria Arts Association

Arts Alive Exhibition WHPS, Pretoria



‘Glowing Shadows’ Solo at Art Lovers Gallery, Pretoria

‘Feather Collectors’ Solo (Black Box) at Arts Association, Pretoria

Arts Alive Exhibition- WHPS Pretoria

Jan Cilliers Exhibition, Johannesburg



3-Man Show at Gallery 011, Kramerville, Johannesburg

2-Man Show at Tina Skukan Gallery, Pretoria

Jan Cilliers Exhibition, Johannesburg



Commissioned by the Reserve Bank to do portrait of Governor Gill Marcus

Arts Alive Exhibition- WHPS Pretoria

‘Sirens and Sailors’, 3 man show at Arts Association, Pretoria

‘Not-a-portrait’ Exhibition, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Cape Town

Jan Cilliers Exhibition, Johannesburg



Turbine Art Fair, represented by Art Source

‘Little Inconsistencies’ show at Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Cape Town

Arts Alive Exhibition- WHIPS Pretoria

Grand Exhibition, Rust-end Vrede Gallery, Cape Town



‘Tom Waits for No Man’ show, curated by Gordon Froud, traveling exhibition

SPI National Portrait Award, top 40, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, Durbanville, Cape Town, traveling exhibition

‘Legal Eagles and other Juristic Animals’ (Solo), Law Circle, Pretoria

‘Posing on Pedestals’ (Solo), Arts Association, Pretoria

Arts Alive Exhibition- WHIPS Pretoria



‘It fell from the sky’- Creative Studio Gallery



‘Altared Pieces’- Artists respond to the lyrics of Leonard Cohen, Thompson Gallery, Melville

‘Watching on White’- Arts Association Pretoria

Arts Alive Exhibition- Whips Pretoria



‘Parallel worlds’, Innibos Festival, Nelspruit

‘Zoo II’, Tina Skukan Gallery, Pretoria



‘Hybrid’ Upstairs @ Bamboo, Johannesburg

‘Walk on by’ Pretoria Association of Arts, Pretoria

‘Enigma’ Upstairs @ Bamboo, Johannesburg

‘Our world unfiltered’, Tina Skukan Gallery, Pretoria



Shenzhen Fine Art Institute, Artist in residence Exhibition, China

‘Encounter’ Upstairs @ Bamboo, Johannesburg

Innibos Festival Exhibition, Nelspruit

‘Dit en Dat’, Tina Skukan Gallery, Pretoria



‘Zoo’, Magpie Gallery, Pretoria

‘Project’ Upstairs @ Bamboo, Johannesburg

‘Space’ Alliance Franse, Johannesburg



Cite Des Internasionale Artist in residence, Paris France

‘Psykotrope’ Gordart Gallery, Johannesburg



5 Women, Gesseau Art Gallery, Johannesburg

Arts Alive Exhibition, Pretoria



‘Rumble in the Jungle’ (Solo), Gesseau Art Gallery

‘Miniatures’, Gordart Gallery, Johannesburg



‘About Face’ (Solo- Masters), Centurion Art Gallery, Pretoria

‘Femina’, Arts Association Gallery, Pretoria

‘No-A-Gender’, Thompson Gallery, Johannesburg



‘Drawing Conclusions’ Arts Association Gallery, Pretoria

‘Fresh 6×8’ Arts Association, Pretoria



‘Launch’ Open Window Art Gallery, Pretoria

‘Refill’ Tina Skukan Gallery, Pretoria

‘Equus’ Arts Association Gallery, Pretoria

National Print Exchange, Rhodes University Gallery, Cape



Volkskas Atelier Exhibition, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg

New Signatures Exhibition, Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria

‘Veiled’, The Millennium Gallery, Pretoria



Kempton Park Competition Exhibition, Johannesburg

Reginal Turvey Bursary Award Exhibition, University of Pretoria

Bahai Architectural Exhibition, Grahamstown Festival, Cape

‘Double Exposure’, Voss Street Gallery, Pretoria