Zach Taljaard completed his BA(FA) at the University of Pretoria in the year 2000 majoring in Sculpture. He took up the post of Sculpture teacher at the Johan Carinus Art Centre in 2001 where he taught Sculpture and Art history to grades 10-12 pupils. He received his Postgraduate certificate in education in 2002. In 2007 he became the Head of the Exhibitions Department at the Albany Museum in Grahamstown where he was involved in numerous National exhibitions and also curated some group shows, most noteworthy x2 during the National Arts Festival 2009. He was appointed Curator of Johans Borman Fine Art in Cape Town in 2011.
As artist Zach has participated in numerous group shows and held three solo shows. The first titled Con/Front during the National Arts Festival in 2006, the second DutchMAN as part of the main Festival Klein Karoo National Arts Festival program in 2009 and ‘Foreigner’ during the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in the same year. He has been awarded the PPC Best Sculpture award and a Sasol New Signatures Merit Award. His work has been published in MTN’s ‘Messages And Meaning’ and taken up in several private and corporate collections including; Sasol, MTN, The University of Pretoria, Eskom and The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum. Zach currently works from a live-in studio in Observatory, Cape Town.
Through the use of sculptural installation, Zach Taljaard dissects his male identity hoping to throw new light on the universal construction thereof. The artist's work follows an autobiographical path, chronologically tracing his day to day dealings with identity, from childhood expectations and disillusionment through to the inevitable process of becoming a man and the social molding it entails. His sculptures are evidence of his mastery of sculptural techniques and its materials which he skilfully combines to bring out the tactile and conceptual strengths, luring the viewer in with fine craftsmanship to convey a message which challenges our norms and indirectly our comfort zones.
‘The creation of man, his evolution and the construction of male identity through events, family, history and physical objects interests me. The role of the father and mother in the development of my identity and the never-ending battle between the Ying and the yang creates tension in my work. This tension is evident in almost every piece I have made. My work originally dealt with childhood memories, self-realization through experiences, disillusionment, growing up as a male. A boy blushing strained by a pair of boxing gloves, a child superhero on his way to dive head first to the ground, a baby poised on a ladder. My later works then looked at the objects we give children to play with, how children through game playing become these objects. Plastic motorbikes, guns, teddy bears and a rugby ball become stereotypes for the male identity. My present work delves into the history and its influence on me as an Afrikaans individual. Western culture, Greek myth, Afrikaans Boer heroes and popular culture action figures haunt my work, confront each other and in the process mock the male bravado they embody.’ Zach Taljaard 2013.