Samantha Becker is an artist practicing in different mediums, styles, platforms and professions. She was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. She graduated with a BA Fine Arts degree from the University of Pretoria in 2013. Her research focused on participatory art and community engagement. While studying, she won the Apple iLife Competition Artistic Excellence award for a stop-frame animation and had the privilege of being part of an internship as a graphic designer at the Core Group. After studying, Samantha taught art, design and music to school children from Playgroup to Matric and is currently exploring graphic design. She expresses herself artistically through different mediums, including drawing, photography, stop-motion animation and music.

“I can say that I have never created an artwork completely autonomously. It has always been a collaboration, recognised as one or not. Those who are a part of my life all play a part in either the concept or the production of each artwork. Even if I am not skilled in a specific medium, I do it anyway, because I believe that art is not about how refined your skill is nor how clever your thought-process might be, but about how you make real, meaningful connections with those around you through creative expression. This lead me to the realisation that I don’t need to justify myself as an artist to anyone. I don’t need to be an artist who creates works exclusively for galleries, nor do I need to create art for the sake of art. I am an artist and I create art for people, of people, about people and with people. Whether it is creating a series of drawings for someone I love, teaching children how to create so that they can express what they feel, creating a couple’s wedding stationery, commemorating a child’s birth through moving pictures or sketching a memory in my notebook, it’s all a collaboration.”

The Water Sustains Me is a collection of sculptures and photographs that illustrate the divide and interconnectedness between the spaces, people and objects situated along the banks of the Jukskei River, particularly along the banks of the informal settlement, Alexandra. The object casts are a metaphor of South Africa’s history and the accumulation of socio-political issues that are found within township living. The negative cement and plaster of paris casts feature rubbish collected from various locations along the Jukskei. The River can be seen as a silent mirror of the past and present, carrying rubbish, memories, identities, beliefs, attitudes and perceptions. And, although it carries customs, prejudices, baggage and rubbish, I propose that at the same time, it can be a vessel of a connection. The purpose of the installation was to encourage viewers to engage with and participate in the artwork to form their own opinions and develop thoughts towards the environmental and socio-political realities that are presented to us through the river. By illustrating the existing divide of people, situations, beliefs and perceptions, Samantha proposes a possible interconnectedness that is inherent in the very nature of the land that is connected by a river.