(b. 1945 Johannesburg, South Africa)

Wilma Cruise’s work explores the interaction between humankind and animals. In her doctoral thesis, ‘Thinking with Animals: An exploration of the animal turn through art making and metaphor’, she explores the conditions of communication between the human animal and other animals – a condition that transcends the spoken (human) word. Communication depends on semiotics, body language and prosody (tone of voice). She maintains it is not the animals who cannot speak (and therefore cannot reason), but us who cannot listen. If we do bother to listen, conditions of empathy are created between all animal kind, as she so often demonstrates in her baboon sculptures.

As the 2023 Woordfees festival artist Cruise exhibited The Animal – what a word! The title is derived from Jacques Derrida’s exposition The animal – Therefore I am. Ironically, the exhibition explored the condition of muteness between human and animal via the extensive use of the word.

Cruise’s recent shows include Coterie of Cats at Tokara (2022-2023) and 1984: Fight Or Flight? Apocalypse Now? at Everard Read in Cape Town (2020). ‘The Alice Sequence’, a suite of seven exhibitions that challenged human exceptionalism by drawing analogies between our world and the rabbit hole world of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, formed the basis of her doctoral exhibitions: The 8th Square and Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast (2016).

Wilma Cruise has completed a number of public works, including the National Monument to the Women of South Africa at the Union Buildings, Pretoria (in collaboration with Marcus Holmes); The Memorial to the Slaves (in collaboration with Gavin Younge), in Cape Town; and The Right to Life at the Constitutional Court, in Johannesburg.

Her work is represented in public, corporate and private collections. She has participated in the Havana Biennale, the Florence Biennale and the 7th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale in Seoul, Korea. Cruise is a fellow of Ceramics South Africa and writes extensively in the field of ceramics.



2023  The Animal – what a word!, Woordfees Festival Artist, Potchefstroom, South Africa 

2022  Coterie of Cats, Tokara, Stellenbosch, South Africa

2020  1984 Fight or Flight: Apocalypse Now?, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa

2019  Some are More Equal than Others, RK Contemporary, Riebeek Kasteel, South Africa

2016  Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, Gallery University Stellenbosch, South Africa

2016  The 8th Square, Cavalli Gallery, Cavalli Wine Estate, Somerset West, South Africa

2015  Advice from a Caterpillar,  David Krut Projects, Arts on Main, Johannesburg, South Africa

 Clay Museum, Cape Town, South Africa

2014   Menagerie at Tokara, The sculpture garden at Tokara Wine Estate, Curated by Ilse Schemers

2013/4 Will you, won’t you, will you join the dance? National Arts Festival, Makhanda & Oliewenhuis Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa

2012    The Alice Diaries, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

2011    Wilma Cruise at Wildekrans Country House, Houw Hoek, South Africa

   Alice and The Animals, University of the North West Art Gallery, Potchefstroom, South Africa

   The Animals in Alice,  iArt Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2008    SPLIT LON.NY.JHB. David Krut Projects, Johannesburg, South Africa

2006    Cruise at Krut: Wilma Cruise Works on Paper, Johannesburg, South Africa

2001    HYS. SUSP. text/image/sound, Millennium Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

2000    rapRACK, Goodman, Johannesburg, South Africa 

1998    Mirroring ourselves (with Regi Bardavid), AVA, Cape Town, South Africa

1997    Continuous projection,  African Window Museum, Pretoria, South Africa

1996    John’s wife, First Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa 

1993    Nicholas - October 1990, Goodman, Johannesburg, South Africa

1991    Jacobs and Liknaitzky Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

1990    Untitled: (everlasting nothingness made visible), Goodman, Johannesburg, South Africa

1987    Portrait of my friends and other animals, Beuster-Skolimowski Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa

1985    Sylvester in September, Beuster-Skolimowski Gallery, South Africa

1985    All those lonely people, Things Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

1983    Collection, Beuster-Skolimowski Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa




Director’s Selection, Everard Read, London, UK


Spring Show, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

Oasis: 25th anniversary group show, Everard Read, Cape Town, South Africa 


Bronze, Steel, Stone & Bone, Everard Read, London, UK

Against Interpretation, Everard Read, London, UK


Opening Exhibition, Everard Read, London, UK


(In) The Nature of Things, FynArts Festival, Hermanus, South Africa

Slow Violence, GUS, Stellenbosch, South Africa

The Princess in the Veld, curated by Adele Adendorff, Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, Oudtshoorn, South Africa

Carved Relief Print Group Exhibition, David Krut Projects Johannesburg, South Africa

Summer Sculpture III, Everard Read, Mt Nelson, Cape Town, South Africa


Play, Nirox, Johannesburg, South Africa


7th Gyeonggi International Ceramic Biennale, Korea

Everard Read Centenary Exhibition, Johannesburg, South Africa

Re-envisioning the Anglo-Boer (South African) War, curated by Angela de Jesus and Janine Allen, Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery & The War Museum of the Boer Republics, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Figuration and Negation, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa


The Rainbow Nation: Contemporary Sculpture from South Africa, Beelden aan Zee and Lange Voorhout, The Hague, Netherlands


Selected Editions and Works on Paper, David Krut Projects, Cape Town, South Africa

Horse: Multiple Views of a Singular Beast, curated by Ricky Burnett, Everard Read, Johannesburg, South Africa

Wilma Cruise, Frikkie Eksteen and Robert Hodgins, curated by Basie Botha, Trent Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa


HERITAGE 2010, curated by Albie Bailey, Paarl, South Africa

Painters Who Print, The Gallery at Grande Provence, Franschhoek, South Africa

Bodies in Transition, curated by Elfrieda Dreyer. Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa


The Urban Animal, curated by Sonja Britz and Ann-Marie Tully, ABSA Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

3, with Guy du Toit and Gordon Froud, NaudeModern, Pretoria, South Africa


Space Fusion Artspace, Johannesburg, South Africa


Montage, Resolution Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa

Sculpture Garden, Grande Provence, Franschhoek, South Africa

Little Deaths, with Elfrieda Dreyer and Guy du Toit, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa


Roles/Robes, Fried Contemporary, Pretoria, South Africa

Home Sweet Home, Strijdom Gallery, George, South Africa 


Works on paper: Collaborative Prints from David Krut Print Workshop, Franchise, Johannesburg, South Africa

David Krut Collaborations: 25 Years of Prints and Multiples, National Arts Festival, Grahamstown


Male Order, Standard Bank National Arts Festival, touring exhibition, South Africa

Manuscript Exhibition 4, Boekenhuis, Johannesburg, South Africa


Biennale Internazionale Dell’arte Contemporanea, Florence, Italy

Observations (with Guy du Toit and Dianne Victor), The Open Window Art Gallery, Pretoria, South Africa


Water Colour Society of South Africa, Norscot Manor, South Africa


2004 Earthworks/Claybodies, (Deborah Bell, Wilma Cruise, Guy du Toit, Petros Gumbi), Sasol Art Museum, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

2003 Earthworks/Claybodies. (Deborah Bell, Wilma Cruise, Guy du Toit, Josephine Ghesa). Pretoria Art Museum and Standard Bank Gallery, South Africa

1999 (Re)figuring abstraction. (Regi Bardavid, Jenni Stadler, Pascual Tarazona), Sandton Civic Gallery, , South Africa 

1995  Space/(Dis)Place. Africus Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa (as artist and curator)

1992  Edges. Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa (as artist and curator)

1991  The contemporary vessel, Karen McKerron Gallery, Bryanston, South Africa (as artist and curator) 


2009 Artspace Mentorship Programme Mentor: Wilma Cruise. Mentee: Louis Olivier 

2007 Lower Eastside Printshop, New York, USA (supported by David Krut Projects) 

Guest, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

Guest, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa

1998 Artist-in-residence, Standard Bank Festival of Arts, Grahamstown, South Africa

1997 European contemporary art in the point of intersection between contemporary cultures and nations, Ryn, Poland

Havana Biennale, Cuba


Iziko (South African National Gallery) 

Durban Art Museum 

Pretoria Art Museum 

University of South Africa Collection 

Corobrik Collection 

Polokwane Municipal Collection 



Constitutional Court 

Standard Bank Gallery 


Sasol University Museum, Stellenbosch 

University of Johannesburg 

Rand Merchant Bank 

University of the North West 

War Museum Bloemfontein

Ellerman House, Cape Town