In Tracking the Western Leopard Toad, she explores the parallel world of an endangered species endemic to the Western Cape, and Cape Town in particular. By adopting the research practice of the scientist, Grobler sets out to track the physical movements of the Western Leopard Toad (Amietophrynus Bufo Pantherinus) as well as opportunities for coexistence. She engaged with scientists, volunteers and the public to uncover their personal connection with toads, which is presented in the notebook format as a blend of scientific fact, anecdote and fiction. Toads are humble creatures: low on the ground and easy to trundle afoot. But their dogged survival amongst people, houses, cars and pets is remarkable and echoes their human counterparts’ achievements in Small Victories (2007-2009).
The relation between humans and toads illustrates a microcosm of ecology within the suburban environment. Grobler’s practice of looking closer echoes the scientist’s fascination with her subject. Her work exerts a force away from the grandiose, pulling the viewer’s focus downwards to the stripped-down fabric of life. (Nicola Grobler, thousands!)
(Pretoria, South Africa 1976) Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa
She obtained a degree in Fine Art with distinction from the University of Pretoria, before relocating to London to pursue her interest in graphic design and digital media. She returned to Cape Town in 2002 and was awarded a Master of Fine Art, with distinction, from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, in 2004. Grobler has lectured in art and design at a number of universities and institutions. She currently lectures in visual communication at a tertiary institution in Cape Town.
Grobler’s drawings, sculptures, installations and interventions serve to amplify the minute detail of everyday life. She operates with a different optic, which assesses and reconsiders the value of things. Her work reflects a concern with the economy of value in a world fixated with the concrete. By infusing the ordinary with the poetic she shows other possibilities for describing human relations to the world and with each other.