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Rika Nortje

Independent Art Collection Management Specialist, Exhibition Project Manager and Curator

Country: South Africa

ITP Year: 2007


Rika is an independent Art Collection Management Specialist, Exhibition Project Manager and Curator in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. She is currently working as an Art Collection Management Specialist at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery where she acts as the art collection’s caretaker, making decisions on the placements of artworks over three campuses, database updating, managing restoration processes, acquisitions, loans, and gallery and storage housekeeping. She also assists with the gallery’s website Moving Cube, temporary exhibitions, and holds the position of Acting Curator in the curator’s absence.

In 2024, the gallery will host 8 exhibitions and will be arranging a travelling exhibition to two arts festivals in South Africa. One of the exhibitions will be curated by Rika and a new curator at the gallery, focusing on the stories told by using embroidery and textile as medium.

From 2016 to 2018 Rika worked at the University of Johannesburg Art Gallery as an Art Collection Management Specialist. She assisted with the updating of the database (e.g. dates of birth and death, accession numbers) and she collected contact details of artists or relevant copyright holders to enable the gallery to use images of the artworks of their holdings on the new UJ website. Her duties also included assisting in other administrative work and exhibitions and display set-up. In 2018 she conceptualised the collaborative exhibition entitled Continuing Conversations – a portrait exhibition at UJ. This exhibition was in partnership with the MTN Foundation and she project managed the exhibition, as well as a mentorship, emerging artists and educational programmes. During 2017 and 2018 she also assisted in a collections audit at the North West University Gallery in Potchefstroom, North West.

Rika also does freelance curating of exhibitions. In 2016 she was involved with three exhibitions in Johannesburg, Potchefstroom and Kimberley. The first two were exhibitions of South and Southern African artists for an annual cultural festival entitled Sanaa Africa which also travelled to the Aardklop National Arts Festival, showcasing established and emerging artists producing art in various media. The Kimberley exhibition was an annual national contemporary ceramic exhibition held at the William Humphreys Art Gallery.

At the British Museum
During her time on the International Training Programme in 2007, Rika was based in the Department of Africa, Oceania and the America’s and her partner placement was spent at the National Museum of Wales.

Legacy Projects
In March 2010 Rika attended the Cairo Conference Towards a global network where she presented a paper on what she had gained, both professionally and personally, from attending the ITP and her career development since the programme.

In November 2017 Rika attended the MA conference in Manchester with fellows from India, Kenya and Palestine. Rika also attended sessions on temporary exhibitions and permanent display at UK partners Manchester Art Gallery and Manchester Museum as well as the People’s History Museum.