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Inspired by his love for the African outdoors, Jan Kotzé creates a record in the form of oil on canvas, neat, tidy and aesthetic, but so much more than a painting. Being both farmer and conservationist, Jan has become a true patron of our country's natural heritage. As an artist, his work is a beautiful expression of his passion.

Raised in Durban, the fifth child of six, Jan's artistic talent started at an early age. Having always had a keen eye for shape and form, he would spend many hours with pen and paper in hand, observing and recording almost anything that would catch his eye. His introduction to wildlife art however, came a bit later in life.  When an opportunity came about to work as a farm assistant on a pineapple farm in rural Zululand, he jumped to it without hesitation. And so his farming career started in the small rural farming community of Heatonville, a city boy who couldn't speak a word of Zulu. With no previous agricultural experience, he started from scratch, applying himself with much enthusiasm, and was soon welcomed into the farming community.

He married a local girl, the eldest daughter of a respected sugar farmer. After a brief 2 years in Underberg, they returned to Zululand, to manage and develop a fruit farm in Heatonville. Here they lived 13 happy years, raising two children with much love. In 1993, they purchased a piece of land in Heatonville, establishing their roots in Zululand, which had by then worked its way well into their hearts.

Jan's passion for conservation has always been central to his life.  He has been a noted patron to the local parks, having spent many weekends over the past 20 years walking in Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park, a personal favourite weekend getaway. Serving as chairman of the local wildlife conservancy for 5 consecutive years, his contribution has had a positive influence on the fate of many a wild creature and the fate of nature conservation in general, in the area.

In all this time, Jan has not lost his artistic talent and has always made time to practise what he loves doing most. Humble as he is, he keeps all his work in a file, unseen by even his closest friends and family, which he keeps adding to, to this day. However his talent was discovered at an early stage amongst the community, and he was commissioned over the years to do a number of portraits, landscape scenes and wildlife scenes, some of which are featured in his portfolio.

A recent swing of events has led him towards painting full time, most of his work orientated on what lies closest to his heart, wildlife conservation. Years of experience in Zululand bush and a keen knowledge of the particular idiosyncrasies of African wildlife clearly influences the themes behind each of his paintings. His feel for the emotions that each of these scenes evoke in us is what defines him as an artist and gives his work its unique shape.


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