1939 - 1993

paintings, graphics, writings



 Wopko Jensma at his studio (img. Art Calendar, April 1973, SA Association of Arts, Pretoria)

Wopko Jensma in 1973



Short C.V.

Wopko Pieter JENSMA was born 26th July, 1939, Ventersdorp in the Transvaal.

Matriculated at Middelburg Hoërskool, enrolled for study at the Universities of Pretoria in 1960 (BA Fine Arts (1964, incomplete) and attended University of Potchefstroom (1965-1967); translator for APB Publishers, Johannesburg (1965-1967); 1967 taught at a school in Serowe, Botswana, later became Head of Graphics Section of Department of Information, Gaborone.

Wrote poetry in English and Afrikaans; published anthology "Sing for our execution" in 1973

Taught art at the Open School, Johannesburg, during the 1980s

Disappeared without trace after August, 1993


This website is dedicated to Wopko Jensma's graphics and paintings - his achievements in literature are well documented elsewhere!



To view full CV, click on this link!



Selected Solo Exhibitions

Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg - 24th February, 1969

SA Association of Arts, Pretoria - 16th March, 1970 (graphics) (opened by Prof. Ridley Beeton)

Gallery 101, Johannesburg - 26th April, 1971 (woodcuts)

Wopko JENSMA cover of invitation card from Gallery 101 Johannesburg from 26th April, 1971

Wopko JENSMA cover of invitation card from Gallery 101 Johannesburg from 26th April, 1971

SA Association of Arts, Pretoria (Upper Gallery) - 24th April to 5th May, 1974 (jointly with Casper Schmidt)

SA Association of Arts - Southern Transvaal Branch - Carlton Centre, Johannesburg - 24th September, 1973 (graphics jointly with Harald P.H. Michel)

Gallerie Metroplex, Johannesburg - 4th July to 4th August, 1996 (from a private collection)

Wopko Jensma - Poster Gallerie Metroplex Johannesburg - July August 1996

click on image for better view!

Gallery Y (Wolf Weinek), Hillbrow and Kensington, Johannesburg - at various times and venues

Wolf Weinek - Walter Saunders - Wopko Jensma - opening at Gallery Y - image from Facebook

Wolf Weinek - Walter Saunders - Wopko Jensma - opening at Gallery Y - image© from Facebook



Included in Selected Group Exhibitions

Lidchi Gallery, Johannesburg (paintings and graphics) (November, 1968) (first showing in the Transvaal) (cat 31 - 40: painting, monotypes, woodcut)

Gallery 101, Hyde Park, Johannesburg - 29th August, 1970 (Group Show)

UNISA, Pretoria (Silkscreen Exhibition UNISA), 1970 (cat. 34)

Durban Art Gallery, Durban (Art South Africa) 1971

SA National Gallery, Cape Town ("SA Printmakers"), 1979 (monotype)

Museum of Modern Art, Oxford UK - "Art from South Africa" - touring the UK (one graphic only) - 17th June, 1990 to 27th July, 1991



Selected original Graphics

Wopko Jensma "Bird Man"  Wopko Jensma "Male and Female" Wopko Jensma "African Presence"

Bird man - Male and Female - African Presence

Click on images to see further graphics!

Background story to three works by Wopko Jensma found on a flea market in Des Moines, Iowa, USA as reported in February, 2003 (PDF)



Selected Paintings

Wopko Jensma "Nuts", 1976 mixed media (oil/sand/nuts) on board - 62.5x50cm    Wopko Jensma "Firebirds", 1977 - oil on canvas 88x96cm     Wopko Jensma "Abstract composition", 1976 - mixed media painting - 36x29cm

Wopko Jensma "Nuts", 1976 mixed media (oil/sand/nuts) on board - 62.5x50cm - Coll. William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley, acq. Sept. 2010/4267 (left)

Wopko Jensma "Firebirds", 1977 - oil on canvas - 88x96cm (middle)

Wopko Jensma "Abstract composition", 1976 - mixed media painting - 36x29cm (right)

Click on images for better view!



Selected Bibliography and Press covering

ARTLOOK 26, Johannesburg, 1969 (January), p. 15, ill.

ARTLOOK 39, Johannesburg, 1970 (February), pp. 16/17, ill.

"The South African Art Market 1971/72" (Art Institute South Africa) (1972) (Berman), pp. 66, 80

"The future of craft in Botswana" (De Arte 12) (UNISA) 1972 (October), pp. 28-32; article by Wopko Jensma, ill.

SA Association of Arts, Pretoria - "Arts Calendar" April 1973 (with CV in Wopko's words)

"South African Graphic Art and its Techniques" (Human & Rousseau) (1974) (F.L. Alexander), p. 68, ill.

"Three Centuries of South African Art" (AD. Donker) (1982) (Fransen), p. 356

"Art & Artists of South Africa" (Balkema) (1983) (Berman), pp. 191, 197, 522

„The Dictionary of South African Painters and Sculptors including Namibia“ (Ogilvie / Graff) (Everard Read), 1988 – ISBN 0 620 12663 9 – listed on pp. 316/317

"Art from South Africa" (Museum of Modern Art, Oxford) (1990) - ISBN 0 905836 71 5 - pp. 49, 58 (ill.)

"Printmaking in a transforming South Africa" (David Philip Publ.) (1997) (Hobbs/Rankin), p. 131

"Contemporary South African Art - The Gencor Collection" (Jonathan Ball Publ.) (1997) (Geers), p. 15, 72/73, ill.



Selected Public Collections

SA National Gallery, Cape Town (1 woodcut, 1 monotype)

Durban Art Gallery, Durban (2 woodcuts)

Wopko JENSMA “Untitled”, 1970 woodcut - 55.5x68.8 cm (Coll. Durban Art Gallery, cat. 1756)

Click on image to see all graphics and more details!

Pretoria Art Museum, Pretoria (1 silkscreen)

William Humphreys Art Gallery, Kimberley (1 painting, 2 woodcuts, 1 silkscreen)

Wits Art Museum, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (1 monoprint, 2 silkscreens, 1 etching)

PELMAMA Permanent Art Collection



Selected Corporate Collections

Gencor, Johannesburg

SANLAM, Bellville

Wopko Jensma "Untitled", 1974 - silkscreen ed. 55 - 63x53 cm (Coll. SANLAM) (downloaded from www.litnet.co.za)

Wopko Jensma "Untitled", 1974 - silkscreen ed. 55 - 63x53 cm (Coll. SANLAM)



Works sold on selected auctions

Sotheby's/Welz, Johannesburg - 12th May, 2003 - Lot 405

Sotheby's/Welz, Johannesburg - 21st October, 2003 - Lot 757

Bernardi Auctioneers, Pretoria - August, 2005 - Lot 85

Bernardi Auctioneers, Pretoria - October, 2005

Sotheby's /Welz, Johannesburg - 31st July, 2006 - Lot 301

Wopko Jensma "Die swaart gevaar", 1971 - watercolour - 37.5x54cm

Wopko Jensma "Die swaart gevaar", 1971 - watercolour - 37.5x54cm

Sotheby's/Welz, Johannesburg - 16th April, 2007 - Lot 392

Sotheby's / Welz, Johannesburg - 30th July, 2007 - Lots 209, 210

Sotheby's / Welz, Johannesburg - 20th November, 2007 - Lot 475

Bernardi Auctioneers, Pretoria - 3rd November, 2008 - Lot 470

Wopko Jensma "Face & forms", 1975 - colour woodcut - ed. 75 - 64x41.5cm

Wopko Jensma "Face & forms", 1975 - colour woodcut - ed. 75 - 64x41.5cm

Bernardi Auctioneers, Pretoria - 20th July, 2009 - Lot 709

Strauss Fine Arts, Johannesburg - 7th September, 2009 - Lots 58, 59

Bernardi Auctioneers, Pretoria - 9th November, 2009 - Lot 633

Westgate Auctioneers, Johannesburg - 26th January, 2010 - Lot 238

Strauss Fine Arts, Johannesburg - 24th May, 2010 - Lot 127

Strauss & Co., Johannesburg - 7th November, 2011 - Lot 175



Personal Papers in our archives

Letter dated 14th May, 1980 sent from Johannesburg

Part of letter dated 12th February, 1976, sent from Durban



Selected Web and other references about Wopko Jensma

Time to Talk: Literary Magazines in the Pretoria/Johannesburg Region 1956 to 1978 (Michael Gardiner)

"Revolution in a shopping mall" (Weekly Mail & Guardian), 19th July, 1996

Essay on Wopko Jensma in "Tydskrif vir Letterkunde", Pretoria (47.(1)2010) (Leti Kleyn / Johann Lodewyk Marais) - 24 pp., illustrated!

"Struggle-poësie: Wopko Jensma" (Helga Buys) - in Afrikaans

SAHO, Johannesburg - brief review

"Looking for Wopko Jensma" by Michael Gardiner, ZA@Play Poetry, Johannesburg - 13th March, 2000

"An encounter with Wopko Jensma" - Kaganof's Kagablog - 12th October, 2007

"'n Nuwe soort Mens" by Danie Marais, Volksblad Nuus, Bloemfontein, 10th December, 2010, ill.

"Tidbits from the web" (PDF)

"Wopko Jensma and the .. censors" - Kaganof's Kagablog - 12th June, 2011, ill.


"What happened to Wopko Jensma" - AOP Johannesburg 2013

"Possessing tools/professing artistry" exhibition held at Gallery AOP, Johannesburg - April/May 2013 (cat.©) (PDF) - ISBN 978-0-620-56352-9

"Wopko Jensma and the Halcyon Days of 1972" - July, 2015 - Warren Siebrits & The Art of Collecting newsletter


"Wopko Jensma: A Monograph - The Interface between Poetry and Schizophrenia" by Ayub Sheik ©, University of Durban-Westville, July 2002 © (315 pp.) (PDF)



Reminiscences by Warren Siebrits

Wopko Jensma: Sing For My Execution (1973), Where White is the Colour, Where Black is the Number (1974), and I must Show You My Clippings (1977):


After leaving Chalkham Hill Press in 1995, and with almost no money at my disposal, I hired a small shop window in Rosebank where I opened my first gallery, Galerie Metroplex, in July 1996. The very first exhibition was dedicated to the writings and prints of Wopko Jensma. This exhibition and the opening of this gallery were inspired directly by his three books of poetry. In my opinion they rank as the finest examples of South African poetry, juxtaposed with sublime and striking images made by the artist. His writings and work continue to influence my thinking, and in March 2005 we published our 14th exhibition catalogue titled South African Literary Magazines 1956-1978, where Jensma's influence and contribution as artist and poet permeated 12 of the 15 magazines featured on the exhibition. 


Updated 6th July, 2015

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