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Recently I noticed a growing tendency of digital collages on Instagram and Pinterest accounts as a means of voicing an opinion. This method of conveying a message is a tool that is not as recent as the platforms it gets shared on today. The provocative anti-art movement Dada, experimented with photomontages and collages in the 1920’s but was practiced mainly underground and attracted only a hand full of individuals who were brave enough to call a urinal art.

Sheree Marinus, Up on the wall, just like a trophy. 2017

Today everyone has the opportunity to react to the absurdity of our time. We use these images to express our thoughts and often, pursue to ‘rub humanity’s face in its own vomit and force it to look in the mirror’ much like the flamboyant results of the Dada-experiments.

George Grosz, John Heartfield,Dada-merica,1919

Digital collages are significant in their ability to carry multiple themes and ideas as it consists of multiple layers even when its conceived from a single concept. As a virtual community we all know the power of and the images they use. Whether these images remain current or not, unnerving or delightful, they do influence our thought patterns and decision making, much like subliminal messaging

What’s interesting is the juxtaposition between the communicative potential of these pictures and the limited amount of presence they have. They serve to comment on matters of great importance like presidential elections and gender issues, yet they disappear as soon as another ‘Mannequin Challenge’ hits the virtual realm.


Unlike the limited audience of pre-WW2, digital collages get shared across the world. Anyone with an internet connection has access to the ideas and opinions of other. Art plays such an important role in acting as mouthpiece but I can’t help but wonder why they are so short lived. Have we become used to everyone having an opinion or have the messages become diluted? That being said, we still hit the like button, which means that the creator sparked a reaction.


Are we reacting to the evocative visuals only and fail to see the underlying message? Are these images created with an intended message? Being an Instagrammer myself, I know how disposable images can be. Should we accept that digital art has become take-aways too? I’d like to believe that even in this rapidly changing information age, the impact and message of the collages we share, resonate with the viewer and will be researched a 100 years from now, much as I am doing now.

Sheree Marinus is a young architect and artist living and working in Stellenbosh. She combines traditional collage techniques with digital photo editing tools to address social issues by creating incredibly evocative images.

Part of her creative journey is to use social media as mouthpiece, rather than exhibiting in conventional galleries. "Expressing our opinions on social media feels like the most satisfactory outlet."

When looking at her @pixel_wit account on Instgram, it's clear how certain themes and concepts shape the content. Her earlier work, had a strong incline towards architecture and historic Cape Town with images from old maps, and Art Deco buildings.

Her more recent work takes on a complete different form as she blends notions from the Surrealist movement with POP Art.

Sheree leaves the art work open for interpretation by only using captions to guide the viewer in the direction she intended.

Colour, nature and pattern are recurring themes even when the concept of the work constantly changes. Her love for the outdoors and using this as metaphor brings to life canvas exploding with visual information.

It's clear to see how the work evolved over time as the concepts and content of the work become more focused. What's striking is, that while her style progresses and become more refined, her messages also become more powerful and demands the audience to look and interpret.

Dessert in the Desert

"This image captures a moment where individuals are searching for something. It’s extraordinary. It’s beautiful. And not necessarily good for them. It is out of reach and forbidden. Yet, they continue to search." SM


“I wanted to sing: they told me I could not, I wove my own songs: quiet, you are a girl! But when in this troubled world an elegy I became, I spoke to the hearts of many. The more I sang: the sooner she’ll get tired, they said. The louder I sang: the faster her voice will fail. But I kept singing endlessly, that’s when they started to cajole.”


Shushanik Kurghinian



"This is a quirky, lighthearted image.

It’s about being whoever or whatever you want to be.

The feet in the image do not touch the surface, and treads the earth lightly. This portrays a feeling of having fun, excitement, being free and not taking life too seriously all of the time." SM

Sheree taps into the work of fellow Instagrammers like @annasandalaki, @jmalkova and @franzmurtas for inspiration.

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