Nicky Marais


Nicky Marais is a Namibian artist, educator and activist who lives and works in Windhoek. 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 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’. Marais exhibited as part of StArt Art Gallery's group exhibition 'Look-see' in 2018. She is recently retired from an eleven year posting as the Head of Department of Visual Arts at the College of the Arts in Windhoek.

Marais work was on show at Guns & Rain Gallery in Johannesburg in a solo-exhibition titled, 'Connections' in July 2020. Along with the link to the catalogue you can view more of Marais' works below, on the Guns & Rain website as well as on Artsy. 




Solo Exhibitions

2020 Connections, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg, South Africa

2017 Presence in Absence, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2013 New Work, Omba Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

2010 Face of Africa, Art Salon Gallery, Gross-Sieghardts, Austria

2009 Small Exhibition, Orumbonde Book Shop, Windhoek, Namibia

2007 Studio 77, Windhoek, Namibia

2004 National Art Gallery of Namibia, Namibia

2001 Grids, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

1989 National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

1987 East Cape Arts Association, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


Duo and Trio Exhibitions

2019 Earth Wind Fire Water with Actofel Illovu and Elisia Nghidishange, Omaruru, Namibia

2013 Synergies: Remixing Locality with Andries Fourie and Mikko Ijas in Nairobi, Kenya

2010 Dry Amigos & ICE with Mikko Ijas and Andries Fourie, Windhoek, Namibia

2009 Rock & Roll with Sharon Gorelick, Omba Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

2002 Joint show with Christine Marais, Die Muschel Gallery, Swakopmund, Namibia


Selected Group Exhibitions

2020 Reflect, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2019 Creations, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2019 How Independence Came to You, Namibian Arts Association, Windhoek, Namibia

2018 Booth, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2018 Look-See, Start Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

2017 Roots and Wings, The Project Room, Windhoek, Namibia

2016 Namibia: Art of a Young Generation, Würth Foundation, Germany

2016 Paint, Opera House Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

2016 Conversations, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2015 VAN Annual Exhibition, COSDEF, Swakopmund, Namibia

2015 Represented at Turbine Art Fair, South Africa, by Guns&Rain

2014, 2015 Art Inside, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2014 Moments of Light, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2013 Land Matters in Art, Juried Exhibition, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2013 Divergent Strategies, Bush Barn Art Centre, Salem, Oregon, USA

2013 Victims 2 Survivors, Combating Domestic Violence, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia (Then travelled to USA and Germany)

2011 Namibia Celebration, 21 Years of Independence, Berlin, Germany

2009 6 Namibian Artists, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2009 6 Namibian Artists, GTZ headquarters, Eschborn, Germany

2008-2012    College Lecturers Exhibitions, Windhoek, Namibia

2008-2017    Bank Windhoek Triennials, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

2007-2016    Visual Artists Namibia, Annual Exhibitions: Swakopmund, Omaruru and Windhoek, Namibia

2006 8 Namibian Artists, Omba Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia

2003 Human Touch, Contemporary Namibian Art, Turin and Milan, Italy

2003 5 Namibian Artists, Franco Namibian Cultural Centre, Windhoek, Namibia

2002 Variations, Chelsea Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa

2000 Namibia Today, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

1998, 2011, 2016     Women Artists, National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia

1997, 2009, 2017 Tulipamwe International Artists' Workshop Exhibitions, Namibia

1996 10 Namibian Artists, Bielefeld, Germany

1989-2005   Standard Bank Biennials, Windhoek, Namibia


Selected Residencies, Workshops and Commissions

2019 Drumlids, Omuntu Gardens, Omaruru

2018 Painting Commission Windhoek Country Club and Resort, Namibia

2017 Tulipamwe International Artists' Workshop, Otavi, Namibia

2016 Art South-South, Australia

2015 Imago Mundi Country facilitator, commissioned work for collection “Cultural Map of Namibia”

2014 Orange Day Arts Project and Catalogue, Katutura Community Arts Centre, Windhoek, Namibia

2014 Participated in Participatory Design Conference PDC’14, Windhoek, Namibia

2011 Arterial Network Country representative at Creative Conference, Nairobi, Kenya

2009 Tulipamwe International Artists' Workshop, Okakarara, Namibia

2009 Arts Marketing Workshop, Harare, Zimbabwe

2008 “Moving Africa” guest to DAK’ART in Senegal

2003 One month FNCC Residency in Marseilles, France

2002 Co-ordinator: Art, Dance and Drama Therapy workshops, Legal Assistance Centre, Windhoek, Namibia

2001 Mural Painting, poster workshop co-ordinator for "Stop the Violence" Campaign

2000 Directors Assistant, "Mogomotsimang" EXPO 2000, Hanover, Germany

1998 Shadow Theatre Director, "The Black Fish", EXPO 98, Lisbon, Portugal

1997 Tulipamwe International Artists' Workshop, Namibia


Presence in Absence 2017, Exhibition Catalogue (Self Published)

Namibia: Art of a Young Generation 2016, Exhibition Catalogue (Würth Foundation)

Imago Mundi 2014, Luciano Benetton Collection (Fabrica)

Land Matters in Art 2013, Exhibition Catalogue

Annual Visual Art Exhibition Programme 2012 (Arts Heritage Trust)

VA-N Catalogue of Members  Vols 1,11,111, 2007, 2009, 2012 (Visual Artists Namibia)

A Directory of Namibian Artists – A Collectors Guide, 2011, Sas Kloppers (Dream Africa Productions & Publishing)

Art in Namibia 1996, Adelheid Lilienthal, (National Gallery of Namibia)