Wilhelm Saayman was born on April the 30th 1962 and matriculated from Jan van Riebeeck High School in 1980. He lives in Cape Town.
Willie is a professional film editor and self-taught artist who has never been dependent on the whims of art dealers and the trends of galleries to earn a living. Although he has exhibited widely, his works never centered around exhibitions. His development as artist and painter and his work is therefore a true reflection of a personal journey.
Wilhelm van Rensburg once wrote the following about Saayman: "Wilhelm Saayman’s work is positioned outside conventional structures. He is no ordinary structuralist, though. Instead, one can argue he that is a post-structuralist.
'If structuralism was heroic in its design to master the world of man-made signs and structures, post-structuralism is comic and anti-heroic in its refusal to take such claims seriously."
About his own work Saayman said the following: "I create work that speaks about the horror of urban existence, albeit with humour and irony. I look for magic in the mundane and I don’t shy away from questions of mortality and morality. The results are funny, violent, disturbing, surreal, playful and startling.
"My paintings and drawings recall sketches found in the back of teenagers’ school exercise books, film story-boards, graphic novels and the etchings of George Grosz and the Chapman Brothers. At once sensitively artful and apparently artless, these works give vent to the private thoughts that polite society compels us not to speak."
- Solo show (‘Shreddergrinderblendermixer’) at the Association of the Visual Arts, Cape Town, 1990.
- Joint show at the FIG Gallery, Johannesburg, in 1992 (with Jann Cheifitz).
- Solo show (‘Digital Animation Salesman’) at Area Gallery, Cape Town, in 1999. - Solo show (‘The girl that always ignored me was knocked down by a bus’) at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Art in 2007.
- Solo show (‘Don’t do business with family or friends’) at Warren Siebrits Modern and Contemporary Art in 2008.
- Joint show (How the troubles started) at Whatiftheworld in November 2008 (with Lizza Littlewort).
- Solo shows at Art on Paper (‘The Wrong Pills’ and ‘King For ADay’) 2008/9
- Solo show (‘In Season Five Everyone Dies Part I ‘) at ErdmannContemporary, Cape Town, 2013
- Solo show (‘In Season Five Everyone Dies Part II’) at ErdmannContemporary, Switzerland 2013
- Solo show (‘The Comforter’) at Blank Projects, Cape Town 2014
- Joint show (‘untitled extravaganza’) with Craig Smith at Kalashnikovv Gallery, Johannesburg, 2015
- Solo show (‘Lion’s Head, Guston’s Head and Other Post-colonial Drawings’) at Zink, Cape Town, 2015
- Solo shows (‘This Disguise’ and ‘OFWN’) at Priest, Johannesburg, 2016/17
- Solo show (The Stuff of Dreams) at Dawid’s Choice, Johannesburg, 2017
- Also has work in the permanent collection of JAG and Spier