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About Anja Marais

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So far Anja Marais has created 117 blog entries.

Libation for the Lineage of the Unlived [video art]


The Mountain Without a Shadow, or, Unfinished Business

I once walked past your front yard.

You waved me in.

 

Something appeared on the horizon when you looked out your living room window that day.

You had to show me.

 

A mountain, overnight, bricked itself in the firmament, cemented tight by cloud.

 

“Look!” you say.

“I did not see that yesterday, but when I woke up today, there it was!”

 

I felt the boulder stack more than I could see it, but yes,

it was there.

The way you can see a brain tumor in faltered speech.

 

You poured us each clear spirits in Mason jars and invited me to sit

outside on lawn chairs.

Together we watched the sun compete with stone.

 

The sun did not appreciate this new roadblock, it lamented.

 

“What do you think you are doing here? Can’t you see, I have

somewhere to be?”

 

The mountain sat mute.

 

The sun tried its work, this way and that, up, down, but was in a cul-de-sac.

 

It was then that we realized that mountain did not cast a shadow.

Its weight, without shade. Its demeanor, soundless.

 

But deep inside a fissure in its craggy side, we heard an old voice sing.

It was so familiar, I could smell my Mother,

It was so innate to my bones, I could feel my Grandfather move under the ground.

 

A song of displacement.

Of fallen soldiers,

grieving children,

wounded women,

caged animals,

and decapitated forests.

 

Most of all, it sang about its persistent thirst.

Parched and filled with yester-dust.

A silo throat devoid of unharvested maize.

 

This song of yearning urged us to get up and emptied our Mason jars.

Pouring the clear spirits onto the soil, seeping away.

As the mountain drank from our jars and right before it faded, we stood for a tick in its newborn shadow.

 

All that remained was the backside of the sun on its way.

 

By |2018-05-28T12:56:59-04:00April 2nd, 2018|

FOLD: Exhibit combines unique disciplines through art [write-up]

Exhibit combines unique disciplines through art
by NANCY MOYER

Marais’ bold images reflect the inner psyche bleeding through external reality. She describes her work as a chronicle of the undertaken journey to wander between the two worlds while being a mirror to both. Her surfaces resemble roughly weathered posters, survivors of life’s events, yet still alive and vital.

Believing that all life is a story, “I cut out bits and fragments of this epic tale,” Marais declared in her statement, “and piece them back together searching for coherence and sense; this mutilation creates a new world.”

The powerful work, “Up Flight of the Wingless Bird,” predicts the ultimate transformation. The feminine image, slightly larger than life, rises up above a panel suggesting a nervous system, bone structure, or maybe brambles, into a figurative form. Continuing this path, a light from above changes the physical features into a deadly visage.

FOLD is a women exhibition at the International Museum of Art and Science in Texas curated by Raheleh Filsoofi.

Read the full article HERE

Anja Marais Art

Up flight of the wingless bird, Photomontage Mixed Media on Found Fabrics, 2015, 85 IN x 79 IN

By |2018-02-28T12:16:55-04:00February 28th, 2018|

Between transformation and disintegration – Art Salon [Art Talk]

Memorial Landscapes between transformation and disintegration: Photography as a Textural Approach

by Anja Marais

Elle Schorr’s Art Salon – South Florida has become a vibrant center for art and artists, and ART SALONS at the ARMORY ART CENTER in West Palm Beach are a gathering place for artists from throughout in the region. Each month from October to May, Art Salons offer presentations by influential professional artists whose artwork is being shown in museums and galleries in South Florida. Presenters show their work, talk about their influences, and explore the work of artists showing in museums and galleries, followed by stimulating discussions between all who attend. Our discussions cover the gamut of contemporary art themes, including conceptual, cultural, socio/political, environmental, race and gender-focused and aesthetic practices, the materials and techniques used to convey these ideas, and where we fit into the world of contemporary conceptual art. Art Salons also offer the opportunity to explore the practical side of being an artist, enhance professional development, share useful resources, and network with other artists.

By |2018-02-28T12:04:03-04:00February 13th, 2018|

FOLD a women exhibition at IMAS, Texas

FOLD is an exhibition of contemporary works by thirteen female artists who explore the concept of the fold in terms of form and conceptual metaphor in both stationary and time-based art media. The fold is simple and complex at the same time – it is a physical act, a state of material, and a way to explain things that happen in other realms.  The fold challenges space and even time, and as a symbolic paradigm, it offers an ever-expanding impulse for creativity.  The exhibition will be held in conjunction with the annual FESTIBA event, which will focus on the theme of borders in a way that offers opportunities to compare theoretical constructs with concrete realities.  Along with the exhibition, seven scholars from different disciplines; Philosophy, Psychology, Social History, the History of Art and Literature, and Women’s Studies will explore the concept of FOLD in their respective areas. The exhibition, with its speakers and the panel discussions, provides a unique opportunity for to engage with the many voices and perspectives of notable, contemporary artists and demonstrates the way that art can offer inspirational insight into current societal issues and trends.

*For more information about additional FOLD locations and events, please click here.

By |2018-01-23T09:28:05-04:00January 23rd, 2018|

Strand of the Ancestral [catalog]

ELEVEN VOICES was a group exhibition of South African and African Diaspora Artists presented by the Deering Estate in Miami curated by Kim Yantis of the Deering Estate and Rosie Gordon-Wallace of the Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator.

Artists include:
Nicholas Hlobo
Anton Kannemeyer
Anja Marais
Judith Mason
Claudette Schreuders
Rowan Smith etc.

The full catalog of the exhibition is available now online.:

VIEW CATALOG

From the Catalog:

A LONG, THIN STRAND OF THE ANCESTRAL

by Anja Marais

In 1994 as an art student, I stood in front of a painting and it left a crack in my young mind where the light started to seep in. The Pretoria Museum of Art was particularly quiet that day and I found myself alone in a room with a work by Judith Mason. A quiet escape from external harshness.

It was a lush painting. Each brush stroke spread like warm chocolate over the canvas building sediment that formed a topography reminiscent of Africa’s many valleys and plateaus. I got lost in this landscape of paint which shaped the body of a Wild Dog bitch. The Wild Dog was a mother with heavy teats, filled with milk. Her pups are not in the picture but her teats were suckled raw and red. She was standing alone in an alerted pose during the hour of twilight – the most dangerous time to leave your pups alone while hunting. She looked strong and vulnerable at the same time.

I have never met Judith Mason but I was one of many artists in South Africa that suckled inspiration from her protean body of work. In my mind, she was Africa’s Mother of Contemporary Art. She spoke up as a female, an artist, a white, a role model, against the misguidance in our society without ever being pedantic or condescending.

“The Wild Dog” painting is one of my favorite works by Mason. It is a metaphor for being an artist. It speaks of the strength and power of servitude. Artists provide nutrition to souls that are hungry and in need, even as the artists themselves are solitary figures that are ambulant in both the light and the shadow of their own psyche. Being always alert while understanding that their vocation comes with a responsibility to the earth and future generations.

Wild Dog, 1962, OIL ON BOARD, 91 X 123CM, COLLECTION: PRETORIA ART MUSEUM

In Eleven Voices I had the opportunity to exhibit alongside South African artists but it was profound for me to have Judith Mason in the exhibition. Her work and her history have become a cyclical thread in my own journey as an artist. She taught me to have a voice as a young art student and to have our voices brought together became a poetic confirmation of my art practice.

In the exhibition, my work “Unforeseen Snow” is a video installation that speaks of utopian pockets amidst the charged politics of South Africa. How love can exist untainted in the darkest of hours. The video is from 8mm film footage of my Mother and Father in love and wooing in the early sixties.  The installation also includes found objects like suitcases, bones, and books that refer to history. Ancestral history of genes, ideas, travels, knowledge, and wisdom. If tomorrow is ambiguous but we are sure of our past, can we carry that with us to make our future clear?  Or is it better to forget our past indiscretions?

I further speak about ancestry and their footsteps in the series “Sole Journey”. In this series of six, the bottom of the inner sole of used shoes is pulled out and displayed. It reveals the hidden pressure, weight, imprints, and stains of the wearer during their journey. What would I have done in my Mother’s and Father’s shoes? An easy question to ask oneself out of context but hard to maneuver in the enclosure of relevant time.

One of my motivations as an artist is aiming to take responsibility for my own history to be the generation that can follow in the shoes of progenitors like Judith Mason and to continue questioning the cycles of cultural inheritance and leave sustenance for artists and generations to come.

Unforeseen Snow, 2016, Video installation and found objects, 51in x 26in x 30in

Unforeseen Snow, 2016, Video installation and found objects, 51in x 26in x 30in

 

By |2018-04-05T10:59:37-04:00January 19th, 2018|