Cecilia Maartens was born in 1956 in Ermelo, South Africa, and has been living in Bloemfontein since 1988. Maartens was informally tutored in visual art practice by Joy Rousseau, artist and former lecturer in Visual Arts at the University of Potchefstroom; Johan Fourie, painting lecturer Motheo Technical College; the late Werner Wiid, former Head of the Arts Department at the Bloemfontein College of Education; and attended MarianDeNard’s art school for a year. She obtained a Baccalaureus Artium (UNISA) in 1981, BA (Hons.) Psychology (UFS) in 2004, and the Advanced University Diploma in Visual Arts (UNISA) in 2011. Maartens practised traditional artmaking from 1986 until 2010, when she enrolled at UNISA for the Advanced University Diploma in Visual Arts, to develop her skills pertaining to conceptual artmaking. Resigning in October 2015 after 35 years of employment (as Senior State Accountant for half that time, music teacher and library administration), Maartens wished to devote her full attention to her art studies. She obtained the Master’s degree in Visual Arts (UFS) with distinction in 2019, presenting a solo exhibition of 35 artworks (mainly paintings, but also a rhizome installation, aluminium and wood sculpture, embroidery and an artist’s book) and a dissertation. The exhibition featured in the Centenary gallery (March 2019) for evaluation purposes and in the Stegmann gallery (May- June 2021) for public view. Maartens was selected as a finalist (2017, 2018 and 2019) in the Sasol New Signatures Art Competition presented annually in collaboration with the Association of Arts Pretoria. The oil painting Remembering, forgetting and imagining (2017), a nine-piece series of acrylic paintings, titled Intensities (2018) and the rhizome installation A presentiment (2019), were exhibited respectively in the Pretoria Art Museum. She was also a finalist and merit award winner of Sasol New Signatures 2019 with the installation A presentiment. Additionally, she was selected for three consecutive years (2016, 2017 and 2018) as finalist for the Phatshoane Henney New Breed art competition and the following artworks were concurrently part of the relevant group exhibitions: Decalcomania - a traced memory (2016), Innere Klänge #1and #2 (2017) as well as Waiting for the next move (2017), and Feelings#1-#4 (2018). Two commissioned 20 x 20 cm paintings and the oil painting Waiting for the next move are included in Phatsoane Henney’s private art collection. The swing sculpture, Passage of time (2018), was exhibited by the Melrose Gallery (JHB) in 2019 as part of the SculptX art fair. A three-piece oil painting Exulansis is exhibited at the Jan Rupert Art Centre in Graaff Reinet from 5 March to 5 September 2021. The embroidery piece Ugly duckling and Labyrinth II built from self-made cement stones, dimensions 400 x 400 cm, were selected to be exhibited as part of Folds and faults, curated by Carol Brown for the Free State Art Festival in 2020, which was unfortunately postponed due to Covid -19 limitations. She is also a member of the Free State Art Collective founded by Karen Brusch.
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