A symbolical journey

Wilna’s symbolical journey within the Jungian framework portrays inner images as active imagination and art, through the medium of oil and also in writing.

She views the creative space as the sacred space between psyche and reality, and the canvas as a living mirror, relaying meaningful truth.  

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Omni Fine Artists

29 May 2018

THE UNDERWORLD TREE, oil on canvas, 61 x 91 cm
The 2016 exhibition at the UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town

This exhibition included work spanning 25 years of inner life in image. The exhibition was opened by Amanda Botha, Capetonian art journalist and writer. It also coincided with the Africa Day celebrations held annually by the University of Cape Town.

Carl Jung says in Memories, Dreams, Reflections p.340:

The need for mythic statements is satisfied when we frame a view of the world which adequately explains the meaning of human existence in the cosmos, a view which springs from our psychic wholeness, from the co-operation between conscious and unconscious. Meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Meaning makes a great many things endurable – perhaps everything.

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Symbolism and consciousness in art

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High resolution pictures are available on request.

About the artist

My first experiments with oil were focused on looking in the mirror to see what would come from the other side. This process of projection and  interaction with the psyche developed into a fascinating  dialogue: I would get stuck in what I had set out to do and put the work aside, but after an insight in my inner life, an artistic solution might offer itself; an answer seemed to come from nowhere, from inside that I could not have foreseen. In some images, these ‘conversations’ eventually stretched over years. On the canvas this meant that paint was sometimes piled on in thick layers, a deep truth shining through the noise of my everyday-life, from far away, calling to me. I firmly believed in the messages coming from the deep; I view every work as an essential truth, aspects of the story of my life, rooted in the history I was born into.

The importance of the relationship to one’s work

By finding an objective conscious standpoint in relation to the content coming up from the unconscious, it becomes possible to relate to my own deeper truth, and thereby to form a meaningful view of myself in my world. It is toward a need for myth and meaning that my work is directed.


  • 2016: Solo exhibition at UCT Irma Stern, Cape Town, The old woman and the moon, an inner journey in oil
  • 2017: Group exhibition at The Cape Gallery, Cape Town, Dream now, dream not
  • 2018: Solo exhibition at The Breytenbach Centre, Wellington,  Stories of a life

In the news

A bird’s eye-view of South African art, DeKat May/June 2016, p. 39
Amanda Botha at the Irma Stern Museum.

In Wilna van der Walt’s work she gives expression to the inner consciousness of healing powers that find expression in the creative fervency. Here it has to do with the activation of the practice of art to stimulate the subconscious to find expression in an image and a striving for purification.

The exhibition, The old woman and the Moon, in the Irma Stern Museum in Rosebank, Cape Town, represents the symbolic journey of the artist, which takes her along uncharted paths within the Jungian context. She opens herself to tell her story on canvas within the rich chaos of inner perceptions.

Her palette becomes the medium and her canvas the reportage of her psychic journey, and the answer to her continuous inner dialogue. Like the writer Milan Kundera, she finds in her work ‘the unbearable lightness’, and she can turn her ‘sunflowers’ to the light like Vincent van Gogh. Each of these paintings has its own life – a part of the greater puzzle of truths that form part of a wider cosmic understanding. The exhibition runs from 14 May until 6 June. ~ Amanda Botha, art journalist and writer.

Read Amanda’s opening speech at Irma Stern Museum