Painter creates presence in absence with exhibition


Sabina Elago

Windhoek-Nicky Marais’ eighth solo exhibition at the National Art Gallery of Namibia Main Gallery is an emergence of new forms inspired by texts, dreams and conversations.

The Presence in Absence exhibition’s shapes and forms are drawn from a wide range of sources. Nicky frequently uses shapes derived from the ancient rock paintings and petro-glyphs in the Namib which describe and depict the relationships between people and their spirit worlds. The painter and mixed media artist says the exhibition deals with things that are absent or intangible or even invisible but are still present with us. “Things such as our ancestors or our gods or our religious beliefs, the images in the exhibition are really specifically about these things. It also refers to the fact that the works are abstract. The images or figures are thus absent,” she aptly explains the title of the exhibition, Presence in Absence.

Nicky adds that this exhibition is different from her previous exhibitions because of the symbolic patterns she uses. “Arches and graves are new symbols in my work although I have worked abstractly for most of my career. I worked on found objects as well for this exhibition. I painted drum lids and other round surfaces. These could represent my sense of self or the combination of the physical and spiritual,” she says.

In the past Nicky has employed a vocabulary of abstract forms and colour relationships that originate primarily from the Namibian landscape, and the social and political history of the Namibian people through the layered use of flattened symbolic images. She recreates the patterns inherent in natural landforms, pathways and human settlements, urban and rural, traditional and contemporary. The exhibition will runs until June 17.


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