MARIEKE PRINSLOO - ROWE (1977- )
BA Honours Fine Art, University of Pretoria
Dip Honours Glass Blowing, Technikon Pretoria
Master of Fine Art (currently completing), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa
Marieke’s work continues to explore the human figure, considering way in which sculpture mimics the three dimensionality of a human presence and thus the powerful dialogue it invites – human to human look-alike.
Her fascination with the human body as a carrier of stories led her to a focus on public art, mostly cast in cement. Concrete, that humble material of sidewalks and skyscrapers has become an urban language and significant, telling our stories back to us.
The instinctive recognition that figurative sculpture elicits from its ‘real’ living viewer has brought about innumerable interpretations, from ancient to modern art making. As such it has generated a deep, communal reservoir of expression, one to which each new piece adds in depth and complexity.
Marieke’s sculpture ever seeks to make the layered experience of everyday life more understandable, more meaningful - setting in place sculpted bodies as carriers of stories and dreams - of honouring the past, preserving the present and hoping in the future.
As the sculptures flit through these static moments they set them in stone and hallow them from profane to sacred, turning the viewing of each into a rite of passage.
And so their story becomes an invitation.
She models mostly in wax and clay and casts in cement composite , resin composites and bronze.
Marieke grew up on a horse farm in Cullinan, outside Pretoria, and has sculpted – with whatever she could find - since she can remember. She spent her youth in and amongst a multi-cultural and multi-lingual community which has had a significant impact on her experience and understanding of the nature of people and the human form, the basis of her work.
She studied Fine Art at the University of Pretoria with a major in sculpture and is currently completing her Masters Degree in Public Art at the University of the Witwatersrand.
There is ever the desire to communicate and be understood - to be relevant, hopeful and truthful – a part of the fiercely determined South African Art movement.
In 1997 Marieke was awarded the Sasol New signatures judges award by William Kentridge.
In 1999 she was the winner of the PPC National Young Sculptors Award with her installation ‘Inconcrete in Concrete’.
In 1999 a collection of10 life size sculptures ‘I Have Called You By Name’ was acquired by the National Johannesburg Art Museum (JAG) for their permanent collection.
In 2010 to 2012 she presented ‘Walking the Road’ Public Art installation on the Sea Point Promenade in Cape Town. The fable like story was enacted over 2km by eighteen sculptures of a ten year old little Swimmer Girl who yearns to fly like the Dragonfly she meets. And she does! In the symbolic oral tradition so intrinsic to African history preservation ‘Walking the Road’ represented the young South African Democracy in its quest for liberation – to fly – in the pursuit of equality.
In 2014 she was awarded a national tender to create the first HIV and AIDS Children’s Memorial Sculpture. The monumental work comprised the gestural sculpting of six children who are currently living with the disease and are based within her direct community. She closely collaborated with them on imaging their struggles and dreams and then transferring these as designs unto thirty sculpted doves. The doves have been attached to the children in such a way that they seem fly between them. The sculptures stand on plinths of varying heights into which a delicate water system runs - a constant reminder of hope and growth.
The monument is on permanent display on the Miriam Makeba Terrace at UNISA campus.
In 2015 Marieke was selected to create a 6m National Monument for the South African Department of Art, Culture and Heritage of the late Mr John Beaver Marks. The bronze sculpture is situated in the North West Province, the first of its kind in that area.
In 2016 - 2017 The City Of Cape Town selected Marieke’s concept for the Urban Renewal Project of the Pampoenkraal Heritage Site in Durbanville, Cape Town, one of the oldest ‘Outspan’ sites in South Africa.
Marieke focused on the clay Ox that the children would have played with whilst on the journey to the hinterland, as well as in different multicultural communities around the country. This twenty odd piece installation was her first large scale Reinforced Resin Composite project which allowed for steep learning curves and valuable lessons in medium choice for public art installations. The installation tells of the profound journey of South African’s; A recognition of togetherness and belonging - that the memories and stories that weave us together and lead us 'home' are stronger than the misunderstandings and failures that divide us.
In June 2018 Marieke travelled to Pietrasanta, Italy to work on her first marble carving project. This she believed, being a crucial step in the evolution of her understanding of sculpture; the carving a wholly reductive process compared to her modelling, a mostly additive process. She was privileged to work on a marble block from the same Carrara vein as that from which Michelangelo’s David was carved.
In January 2018 , Marieke was commissioned by Rand Merchant Bank South Africa to create Africa’s Fearless Thinker. The sculpture was to celebrate and embrace feminine leadership in the corporate world. Authenticity in choices, appreciating the impact women make, both financially and through policy, and creating a space where women are as able as men to thrive. She stands proudly at RMB Merchant Place, Sandton and RMB/FNB Portswood Precinct, Cape Town.
In August of 2019 Marieke was invited to be exhibited at the the Summer Show in Knokke, Belgium.
For a more comprehensive overview of Mariekes work, please see her cv and other categories under the ‘ About ’section.