Nicky Marais


About the Artist

Nicky Marais (b. 1962) is a Namibian artist and educator currently based in the former mining town of Oranjemund in southern Namibia. Having worked for eleven years as the Head of Department of Visual Arts at the College of the Arts in Windhoek, she has been an integral contributor to the development of the Namibian contemporary art scene. Now retired, Marais focuses on her own painting practice, an obsessive and graphically sensitive investigation of what she calls “significant shapes”.

Her paring down of objects to simple visual forms unpicks their functional overdetermination and reinstates them as aesthetic objects. Turnstiles, gravestones, tunnels, doorways and temples have been sources of inspiration for her, and their frequent repetition calls on us to find the simplest connections between them. At a foundational level, Marais is interested in these shapes as thresholds and liminal spaces, whether between one place and another or between everyday life and the spiritual realm. She engages with geometric abstraction, locating it in the everyday and suggesting that practices of looking and making are always entangled with the materiality of the world.

Marais has had solo exhibitions at the National Art Gallery of Namibia and at Guns & Rain in Johannesburg, and has exhibited in group shows in Namibia, South Africa, Germany, the United Kingdom and Austria. Though she has shown her work extensively in Namibia, she remains largely under-recognised outside of her home country.


  • 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


  • US Department of State (US Embassy, Windhoek)
  • Amawal Collection, Spain

Selected Works

A Kind of Music

Acrylic and ink on canvas
102 x 127 cm

Tied to the Line

Acrylic and ink on canvas
76 x 91 cm


Acrylic on Canvas
158,5 x 160 cm

All Good Dreamers

Acrylic on Canvas
160 x 160 cm

Still Graves

Acrylic ink on paper
59.4 x 42cm


Acrylic and acrylic ink on paper
29,5 x 29,5cm

Connecting I

Acrylic and Ink on paper
29,5 x 29,5cm

Connections V

Acrylic and acrylic ink on paper
59,4 x 42cm

Connections I

Acrylic and acrylic ink on paper
59,4 x 42 cm

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