Nicky Marais’ recent paintings on paper continue her iterative process of image making, focusing on liminal space and its signifiers. She works quickly with acrylic and ink on paper, building up and layering shapes. In this labour intensive process she often works on multiple pieces at once, resulting in paintings that capture movement and transience.

These works are dense with careful mark making. Strong lines intersect with delicate brushwork to build complex, largely abstract images. However, there is also a determined simplicity to the forms at play. Each shape is pared down and abstracted to an archetype of itself. Mundane, everyday shapes like tunnels and turnstiles are treated with the same vigour and obsession as sites of spiritual intensity, like temples and graves. These are some of the objects and sites that Marais has drawn on to create her latest work.

Her solo show Connections opened at the gallery in July 2020.

The graphic quality of her paintings derives from stencils that are used multiple times, focussing on both positive and negative space. Each piece forms part of a broad vocabulary of structures that speak to her current preoccupation with sites of connection.

Marais has exhibited extensively in Namibia and abroad, including ‘Presence in Absence’, her solo show held at the National Art Gallery of Namibia in 2017. 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, where she was at the forefront of securing accreditation for the College as well as writing course materials and sitting on the Curriculum Development Committee.


  • 2022 Muzivi Wenzira, Group Show, London
  • 2021 Art Joburg Open City, Group Show, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
  • 2021 Summer Nights, Group show, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
  • 2020 “Connections”, Guns & Rain, Johannesburg
  • 2019 “Earth Wind Fire Water” with Actofel Illovu and Elisia Nghidishange, Omaruru, Namibia
  • 2018 “Booth” National Gallery of Namibia, Namibia
  • 2018 “Look See” Exhibition, Start Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia
  • 2017 Tulipamwe International Artists Workshop Exhibition, Windhoek, Namibia
  • 2017 Solo Show “Presence in Absence”, National Art Gallery of Namibia Windhoek, Namibia
  • 2016 Guns & Rain Stand, Turbine Art Fair, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • 2016 “Art of a New Generation” Museum Würth Germany
  • 2016 “Conversations” National Art Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
  • 2016 Visual Artists Namibia Exhibition, Omaruru Artists’ Trail, Namibia
  • 2015 “Body&Soul” Fine Art Gallery, Swakopmund, Namibia
  • 2015 “B2Gold”, B2Gold, Otiwarongo, Namibia
  • 2015 “Art Inside”, National Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
  • 2014 Solo Show, “New Work”, Omba Gallery, Windhoek, Namibia
  • 2014 “Art Inside” National Gallery of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
  • 2013 “Synergies: Remixing Locality” with Andries Fourie and Mikko Ijas in Nairobi, Kenya
  • 2014 “Land Matters in Art”, Juried Exhibition, National Art Gallery of Namibia
  • 2014 “Divergent Strategies” Bush Barn Art Centre, Salem, Oregon, USA
  • 2014 “Gender-Based Violence”, National Art Gallery of Namibia
  • 2011 Namibia Celebration, 21 Years of Independence, Berlin, Germany
  • 2010 Solo Show, “Face of Africa” Art Salon Gallery, Gross-Sieghardts, Austria
  • 2010 “Dry Amigos & ICE” with Mikko Ijas and Andries Fourie, Windhoek, Namibia

Nicky Marais on Artsy

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