Anja Marais / Miami, FL
Multi-disciplinary artist Anja Marais was born and raised in the countryside of South Africa. As a young adult, she apprenticed with a landscape painter for many years. She graduated from the University of South Africa with a BFA (honours) in 1998. She has been selected and participated in various programs such as the Enrique Martinez Celaya Summer Workshop (in affiliation with the Anderson Ranch Art Center). She currently works and lives in Miami, FL, USA and exhibits her work in the national and international arena.
She recently exhibited at The International Museum of Art and Science, Texas, The University of the Arts Gallery, Philadelphia; Ground Moscow Gallery, St Petersburg, Russia; Sakura Exhibition, Studio Yoshida, Mino, Japan; MDC Museum of Art + Design, Miami; Baker Museum of Naples, Florida; and the Museum of History of St Petersburg, Poterna Hall, Russia.
Her work is in private and museum collections at the Akari Museum Japan, Kronstadt History Museum Russia, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Miami. She was awarded the South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship 2014, Florida Division of Cultural Affairs Individual Artist Fellowship 2010. She attended many art residencies in Europe, Asia, and the USA, which includes the Ucross Art Residency in Wyoming, The Millay Art Colony in New York, etc.
Marais has also given lectures on Art and her own practices at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, The Northern Colorado University, Greeley, the Museum of Contemporary Art Miami and other non-profit organizations.
By unraveling the layers of embedded cultural inheritance I question the validity and transmission of its narrations. Human frailty and failure have always been the nexus of collective mimicking behaviors and storytelling to cope with circumstances. Hannah Arendt said that ‘events, by definition, are occurrences that interrupt routine processes and routine procedures’. There are some events that happen in life that cause a people to cross a threshold that forever changes them, whether they seek transformation or not.
Uninterested in the boundary between human and the nonhuman world, I focus on the imprints left inviolable into a milieu by shift events. Especially in landscapes with a sense of proximity to history and ancestors, that carry a mixture of impermanence and permanence and a blend of truth and myth.
My two and three-dimensional works are combining found objects with manipulated photographs and found posters. I erode my photographs with décollage techniques creating textured surfaces that resemble weathered protest street posters. I collaborate with time and nature by using rust, wood, bone, molder fabrics, and soil in my work. Together these archaic materials reference my interest in the ritual and the forgotten. This process in return offers a means to rebuild collective memory. To develop new modes of organizing experience. Giving reinterpretations to our transactions with nature and our translations of cultural inheritance.
At my SFAI residency, I continue to work on my project called ‘Fields of Silence’. A project of mixed media decollage works using still images from the footage of the “The Truth and Reconciliation committee of South Africa”
The work completed at the residency was pivotal to my growth as an artist by giving voice to my truth in our current times of misinformation and paltering. My unique viewpoint is not that of the victim or oppressed but speaks from my experience in how misinformation and manipulated history and politics become the burden of the next generations. That transgenerational transgression does not evaporate, it emotionally multiplies. I seek to share this felt responsibility to emphasize the critical understanding of the responsibility to uphold the essence of truth.