About the artist
Nicky Marais (b. 1962) is a Namibian artist, educator and activist. Marais is well-known for her abstract artworks created using a personal vocabulary of abstract forms and colour relationships derived from everyday life as well as the socio-political history of Namibia and icons from around the continent. These forms are often layered using a mixture of stencils and traditional painting techniques. Marais describes her practice as a “constant hunt for significant shapes”, which are subjected to a process of near-obsessive repetition, appearing multiple times in different combinations.
Much of her work explores the relationship between physical and spiritual worlds, which extends into an investigation of the relationship between the tangible and the intangible, the signifier and the signified. Speaking about Marais’ work, Rosa Namises said “Sometimes we are trapped between the gates and the snakes. We have to choose to go through the path of knowledge, to learn what the snakes have to teach us, and not allow ourselves to be trapped by the gates” (2017).
Marais is recently retired from an eleven year posting as the Head of Department of Visual Arts at the College of the Arts in Windhoek. As an artist, she has exhibited extensively in Namibia and abroad. In 2017, The National Art Gallery of Namibia hosted a solo exhibition by Marais, titled ‘Presence in Absence’. Her next solo ‘Connections‘ was held at Guns & Rain Gallery in Johannesburg in 2020. Most recently in 2022, the artist participated in the Baker’s Bay Artists’ Retreat Exhibition in Oranjemund, and served as a judge for the Emerging Painters Invitational.
Collections: National Art Gallery of Namibia, British Council (Namibia), Goethe-Institut (Namibia), Standard Bank (Namibia), University of Namibia, Omuntu Gardens (Namibia), Museum Würth (Germany), Arts Association Heritage Trust (Namibia), Tulipamwe International Artists Workshop Collection (Namibia), Collection of the government of the Republic of Namibia, Private Collections: UK, Namibia, USA, Germany, South Africa, Kenya, Australia, Austria, France, Italy, Denmark, Finland