About Estelle Marais | Art.co.za | Art in South Africa
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About The Artist

Artist Photo

Estelle's interest lies in landscapes, portraiture and imaginary compositions based on mythological and literary themes.

In landscapes she enjoys the rhythm, colours, tones and forms which express the atmosphere and character of the land.

In portraiture she places the sitters in the context of a personal, social, historical and cultural background to tell their stories. These works are done in watercolours, acrylics and oils. She also explores her themes in a variety of graphic media, including charcoal, pastels, lino printing and etching.

Artist CV

  • Estelle Marais (b. 1943, Cradock), graduated with a M. Fine Arts from Rhodes University, Grahamstown. I taught at various schools in the Eastern Cape before starting the Fine Art Department at Fort Hare University in 1971. after which I headed the Fine Art Departments of Natal Technikon, Durban and the Fine Art Department of the University of Bophuthatswana (University of the North West). I also lectured at Rhodes University Department of Fine Art (1981 -1984). Over the years I lectured in drawing, painting and History of Art. I took early retirement to Port Elizabeth in 2003 to paint full-time.

  • Exhibitions: 15 solo, 10 two-person exhibitions, over a hundred group shows, most recent at Tokara.

  • My interest lies in landscapes, portraiture and imaginary compositions based on mythological and literary themes. In recent years I have concentrated on landscapes and particularly the landscapes of my childhood, namely the Karoo and Klein Karoo. I enjoy the rhythm, colours, tones and forms which express the atmosphere and character of the land – especially the way it affects the landscape at a particular time of day. These I do in water colours, acrylics, but mainly in oils. Drawing in a number of media seems essential to my exploring of and reconnecting with the landscape.

  • Work in permanent collections in South Africa: Universities of Fort Hare, Transkei, North West, Port Elizabeth, Rhodes, Mmabana Cultural Centre and Bop Broadcasting in Mafeking, Midrand Merchand Bank, Nedbank (Johannesburg), ABSA (17 works), and the William Humphries Art Gallery, Kimberley.

  • Work in private collections: South Africa, UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Ukraine, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain.

  • Other interests: traveling – has traveled in Europe (including Eastern Europe), Russia, Ukraine, the USA, and Africa (Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique). I try to read as extensively as possible and have written & published articles on the history of art, short stories and educational works. I have also researched and written a 13-part television series, “Under an African Sun”, on the history of modern African art in South Africa which was filmed in South Africa, New York, Paris and London and broadcast several times. A number of my paintings have been used for bookcovers for books by Andre P Brink (“Oomblik in die Wind”), UNISA Dept of Afrikaans (Woorde bly Kritiese opstelle”), and illustrations for books on agriculture and Afrikaans for schools in Namibia.

  • Competitions: In 2011 I was one of 50 out of over 4000 international competitors to receive a commendation for the painting, “Storm oor Spekboomberg” in the British Aesthetica art magazine Creative Works competition.

  • Work in permanent collections in South Africa: Universities of Fort Hare, Transkei, North West, Port Elizabeth, Rhodes, Mmabana Cultural Centre and Bop Broadcasting in Mafeking, Midrand Bank, Nedbank (Johannesburg), ABSA (14 works), William Humphries Art Gallery, Kimberley.

  • Work in private collections: South Africa, UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Ukraine, Germany, Holland, Portugal, Spain.

  • Other interests: traveling – has traveled in Europe (including Eastern Europe), Russia, Ukraine, the USA, and Africa (Kenya, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique).

  • She reads extensively and has written & published articles on history of art, short stories and educational works. She has also researched and written a 13-part television series, “Under an African Sun”, on the history of modern African art in South Africa.


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