Born in 1985, Ronél de Jager is a South African visual artist and independent curator and art project manager based in Johannesburg.
In 2004, de Jager decided on a career in the visual arts and embarked on a BTech (Fine Art) Degree at the Tshwane University of Technology, where she obtained distinctions in Painting and Printmaking in her final year.
Since then she has been a regular finalist in national art competitions, namely Sasol New Signatures (in 2007, 2008 and 2010), Absa L’Atelier Art Awards (in 2008 and 2013, and Thami Mnyele Fine Arts Awards (in 2006 to 2011) and has participated in curated group exhibitions at South Africa’s major National Arts Festivals, the KKNK, the Grahamstown National Arts Festival and Aardklop.
Her work has also been shown in important university galleries (University of Johannesburg, UNISA and Tshwane University of Technology), corporate galleries (Telkom, Sasol and ABSA), project spaces (ROOM Gallery & Projects, Gordart Gallery project room) as well as commercial galleries (Lizamore & Associates Gallery, Lovell Gallery).
From 2007 to 2013, in addition to pursuing her career as a visual artist, De Jager immersed herself in the South African art industry, making a name for herself as Arts Administrator and later Gallery Manager and Assistant Curator at Artspace Gallery (now Lizamore & Associates) in Johannesburg. Under the guidance of curator and director Teresa Lizamore, she developed a fondness for following and supporting the careers of local artists and acquired the skills needed to successfully initiate and support innovative contemporary art in South Africa.
During this period de Jager helped stage over 75 exhibitions and worked on projects such as the Artspace Mentorship Programme 2008 – 2012, the Johannesburg Art Fair 2010 – 2012 and the Ik ben een Afrikander project 2011/2012.
In 2012, De Jager made her début as a curator with New Voices, a group exhibition which focused on recognising young up and coming artists and providing them with a platform within the commercial gallery sector. Although she left Artspace in March 2013 to focus on her career as an artist, independent project manager and curatorial assistant, her curatorial début was such a success that she was invited back as an independent curator for the New Voices II exhibition the following year.
In 2013, De Jager assisted contemporary artist Usha Seejarim with various projects including the implementation and development of the Art of Access webinar series. She also helped with community projects such as artwork for the Nelson Mandela Day mosaic created by the pupils of St James Preparatory School in Johannesburg and, more significantly, was involved in the creation of the Official Portrait for the late President Nelson Mandela’s funeral in Qunu in December 2013.
As an artist, de Jager’s work traverses the mediums of painting, video, multi-media and public art.