Professor Pippa Skotnes

Professor of Fine Art

Pippa Skotnes is an artist, curator, scholar, and director of the Centre for Curating the Archive. She has a BAFA degree, a Post Graduate Diploma in Printmaking, a Master of Fine Art degree and a Doctor of Literature degree. Her major interests include bookarts, curatorship and archive, in particular the Bleek and Lloyd collection and its extended archive. Major projects have included various publications around the Bleek and Lloyd archive including Sound from the thinking strings (1991, which won the UCT Book Award); In the wake of the white wagons (1993, which was the Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner exhibition); Miscast: negotiating the presence of Bushmen (1996, which accompanied a major exhibition at the SA National Gallery); The digital Bleek and Lloyd, a complete, searchable digital archive published with the book Claim to the country (2007); Unconquerable Spirit: George Stow’s history paintings of the San (2008, accompanied by an exhibition at Iziko South African Museum); Rock art made in translation (2010, to accompany an exhibition at the Iziko SAM) and Landscape to literature(2011), a catalogue to the exhibition of the same name at the Michaelis Galleries which marked the centenary conference of the publication of Bleek and Lloyd’s Specimens of Bushman folklore. Recent publications have included Curature: In and Out of the Archive (with Carolyn Hamilton) and The Courage of ||kabbo (with Janette Deacon). She is currently working on a book about a nineteenth century murder in the northern Cape, as well as a project about the nature of composition.

The Centre for Curating the Archive of which she is the founding director, is engaged with several digitising and research projects and also houses a photographic archive (jointly curated with Siona O’Connell) and the University of Cape Town’s Katrine Harries Print Cabinet (jointly curated with Stephen Inggs). In 2008 she curated an exhibition on Cecil Skotnes’s private archive (with Thomas Cartwright) titled Cecil Skotnes: a private view, which was exhibited at the SA National Gallery and the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg. 
Other projects have included The archive of Louis Anthing (2013–) a transcription on the bones of two giraffes, Lamb of God, an exhibition of three bone books and other work (2004) exhibited in Europe and the USA (2009, accompanied by the artist’s book Book of Iterations) and, in 2006, a permanent 127 cabinet installation for the Origins Museum at the University of the Witwatersrand with Malcolm Payne, titled Double Vision.

Group Exhibitions

  • 2011 “From landscape to literature,” exhibition to coincide with the “Courage of ||kabbo and a century of Specimens” conference. Michealis Galleries, August/September. Origins Centre Wits, Feb–April, Kimberely (curated installation)
  • 2011 “Horse” curated by Ricky Burnett, Circa Gallery, Johannesburg, September. (curated)
  • 2012 “Division of the World”: installation in the Department of Archaeology (curated installation)
  • 2013 “Breath”: Installation in the Department of Psychology (solo installation)
  • 2014 “Bone book and the Special Mission of Louis Anthing”. Wissenschaftskolleg, Berlin, June (solo exhibition)
  • 2010 (with Petro Keene). “Made in translation”. Iziko South African Museum.
  • 2008 “Unconquerable Spirit: George Stow’s history paintings of the San.” Iziko South African Museum.
  • 2006 (with Malcolm Payne) “Double Vision.” 127 cabinet installation for the Wits Origins’ Museum. Wits University, permanent exhibit.
  • 2004 “Lamb of God”, an exhibition installed in Bergen, Oslo and Ann Arbor.
  • 2002 “Stories and time: an installation at the University of Cape Town field station in Clanwilliam”, with Gwen van Embden.
  • 2000. “Europe and the San” Hanover Expo 2000. Germany May to August.
  • 1998/9. Cecil Skotnes and Pippa Skotnes at the Rudolph Scharpf Gallery, Ludwigshaven Museum Germany.
  • 1998. South African Artists at the John Wilson Art Center, Washington. Curated by Thea van Schalkwyk.
  • 1997. Rock Art and the /Xam: a recuration of rock art exhibit at the South African Museum
  • 1997. The wind in //Kabbo’s Window: A stained glass window for Smuts Hall, University of Cape Town.
  • 1996. Miscast: Negotiating Khoisan History and Material Culture. Work constructed and curated from collections in South Africa and Europe
  • 1995-8. Panoramas of Passage: Changing landscapes of South Africa, curated by Clive van den Berg, exhibited in South Africa and the United States.


  • Hamilton, C and Skotnes P. 2014. Uncertain Curature: In and out of the Archive. Jacana Press. ISBN 978-1-4314-0629-6 (430 pages, peer reviewed)
  • Deacon, J and Skotnes, P. (eds). 2014 The Courage of ||kabbo: celebrating the 100th anniversary of Specimens of Bushman Folklore. University of Cape Town Press. ISBN 978-1-91989-546-8 (456 pages, peer reviewed).
  • Skotnes, P. 2014. The letters pertaining to the Special Mission of Louis Anthing, 1861–1866. Bone book (two giraffe skeletons 200 bones). Produced at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin: Axeage Private Press.
  • Skotnes, P. 2011. Landscape to literature. Cape Town: Centre for Curating the Archive.
  • Skotnes, P. 2010. Rock art made in translation. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.
  • Skotnes, P. 2010. Stars are small dark-coloured things that live in holes in the ground. In Block, D.L., Freeman, K. C. and Puerari, I. (eds.) Galaxies and their masks. New York: Springer.
  • Skotnes, P. 2009. Book of iterations. Cape Town: Axeage Private Press.
  • Skotnes, P. 2008. Unconquerable Spirit: George Stow’s history paintings of the San. Johannesburg: Jacana Press (co published Ohio University Press.)
  • Skotnes, P. 2007. Claim to the country: the archive of Lucy Lloyd and Wilhelm Bleek. Johannesburg: Jacana Press (co published Ohio University Press.)
  • Skotnes, P. 2005. Book of bones. Published conference proceedings: Bibliophilia Africana 8 Conference. From papyrus to print-out: the book in Africa – yesterday, today and tomorrow. National Library of South Africa.
  • Skotnes, P. 2005. The Digital Bleek and Lloyd. Llarec, University of Cape Town. 14000 image and text pages.
  • Skotnes, P. 2005. The visual as a site of meaning. In Heyd, T. and Clegg, J. Aesthetics and rock art. London: Ashgate. pp. 201-213
  • Skotnes, P., van Embden, G. and Langerman, F. 2004. Curiosity CLXXV: a paper cabinet. Curating collections at the University of Cape Town. Cape Town: Llarec.
  • Skotnes, P. 2004. Civilised off the face of the earth: museum display and the silencing of the /Xam. In de Kock, L., Bethlehem, L. and Laden, S. South Africa in the global imaginary. Pretoria: Unisa Press. pp.32-56
  • Skotnes, P. 2002. The art of repossession: the place of the !Xu and Khwe in South Africa. In: Bushman Art: contemporary art from southern Africa. Stuttgart: Arnoldsche Art Publishers. 28-45.
  • Skotnes, Pippa. 2002. The Politics of Bushman Representations. In Landau, P and Kaspin, D (eds). Images and Empires: Visuality in Colonial and Postcolonial Africa. Berkeley: University of California Press. 253-274.
  • Skotnes, P. and Fleishman, M. 2002. A story is the wind: representing time and space in San narratives. Cape Town: LLAREC.
  • Skotnes, P. 2001. The twelve apparitions of Genevieve Lloyd. Artworks in Progress Volume 6: 64-9
  • Skotnes, P. 2001. “Civilised off the face of the earth” Museum display and the silencing of the /Xam. Poetics Today 22:2. 299-321. Duke University and University of Tel Aviv.
  • Skotnes, P. 2001. Bearded Seals and Fifteen Geese: Cecil Skotnes, a South African Artist in Norway. LLAREC: Artists Monograph Series in conjunction with the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Skotnes, P. 2001. Lamb of God. Digital video: 7 mintues. Cape Town: LLAREC
  • Skotnes, P. 1999. Heaven’s Things: a Story of the /Xam. LLAREC and University of Cape Town Press.
  • Skotnes, P. 1998. Blood and Milk: four books in progress. Artworks in Progress: Yearbook of the Staff of the Michaelis School of Fine Art.
  • Skotnes, P. and Payne, M. 1997. Thomas and the Bone Yard. Catalogue for the exhibition of David Brown. Cape Town: Llarec.
  • Skotnes, P. 1996. (ed.) Miscast: Negotiating the Presence of the Bushmen. Cape Town: UCT Press.
  • Skotnes P. 1996. The thin black line. In Deacon, J and Dowson T. Voices from the past. Wits University Press.
  • Skotnes, P. 1996. At the cutting edge: Cecil Skotnes as Printmaker, in: Harmsen, F. 1996. Cecil Skotnes. Cape Town: SANG.


  • Digitisation of the original Bushman dictionary on indexed cards, comprising over 60 000 entries, continues.
  • Digitisation of magistrate Louis Anthing’s correspondence regarding the plight of the Bushman on the Cape’s northern border.
  • Digitisation of George Stow’s copies of Bushman rock paintings and chippings, and later publication of a book on the subject. Digitisation of correspondence in the Bleek Lloyd Collection at the University of Cape Town.
  • Digitisation of the original Bushman dictionary on indexed cards, comprising over 60 000 entries
  • The publication of Dorothea Bleek’s notebooks on the web by the end of 2007.