Gerda Smit’s art rings with the laughter of children. Since the start of her career as an artist, she has known that children can see magic where the rest of us see only the humdrum of daily life. It is this world of wonder that she taps into when creating her images of children, child’s-play, and family life. Filled with joy and whimsy, Gerda’s art takes the viewer on a journey to a simpler, more beautiful place. It reminds us of the value of family and love, with symbolism that subtly acknowledges the blessings of childhood and childhood guardians and companions.
Gerda is a versatile and accomplished artist. She studied fine arts at the Tshwane University of Technology, specialising in both ceramics and painting. Her thesis considered the artist’s fascination with children and childhood – evident in the works of many great masters. After completing her studies, Gerda had success as a ceramic sculptor, which (amongst other things) earned her a nod from the National Ceramics Association. Her career changed course when she became a mother, and she turned her focus to illustrative drawings and teaching. Her bold and colourful ‘O Griet’ illustrations have captured the hearts of many and has earned her a loyal following. Her commissioned works reflect specific family members and pets, to the delight of the families who can enjoy them. It is said that children can see magic because they look for it. Through her art and illustrations, Gerda reminds even the most grown-up among us how to find sparks of the magic of childhood.
O Griet atworks are found in selected galleries in Pretoria, Johannesburg and surrounding areas.
*The term ‘O Griet’ can be loosely translated from Afrikaans as “oops-a-daisies” or “oh dear”.