Naomi van Niekerk
Naomi van Niekerk is an inter-disciplinary artist and filmmaker. After completing a degree in Dramatic Arts at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg she trained as a puppeteer in France at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts de la Marionnette and graduated in 2011. During her studies her work was performed at several significant theater festivals accross Europe, including the Avignon festival and the Festivale Internationale de la Marionnette. When she returned to South Africa in 2012 she founded the Dryfsand collective together with musician Arnaud van Vliet. The Alchemy of Words is their most recent collaboration and combines Chinese hand puppetry with music and live animation. This was a co-production between the French Institute of South Africa and the SA National Arts Festival. Naomi has gained international recognition as independent artist for her animated short films – An ordinary blue Monday won the Jean-Luc Xiberras award for best first film at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in 2016 and her latest short film ‘My mum’s bonkers’ had its première at the Holland Animation Film Festival in March 2017. Currently the film is included in many Official Selections at film festivals worldwide including the Annecy International Film Festival, Ottawa film festival, Zagreb Anima-festival and many more.