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Nôi van die Plaas

2018 Competition entry

Mariétte Pretorius

Not Signed
Oil on board
900 mm x 1200 mm


“Nôi van die Plaas” is a portrait painting of a young woman posing on a couch for a photo. The artist, who is also the photographer, used this photograph as reference for the painting. As nothing was staged in taking the picture the photograph serves as a documentation of a real person in a real setting at a specific time and place.

The picture was taken in the young woman’s student apartment in Bloemfontein a few weeks before she was to move away to start a new life. By growing up as a ‘tomboy’ on a farm,  learning to hunt and going with her father out into the veld there is an unadorned wholesomeness about her and yet at the same time an alluring sexuality as a beautiful young  woman about to get married.

The springbuck skull on the wall serves as a trophy and a reminder of her life on the farm.  However the unintended symbolic meanings thereof could be plenty. Springbuck are beautiful, lively, light on their feet, playful and abundant, fertile.

The three Frida Khalo images on the wall are paintings the young woman painted herself. The likeness of the woman and Khalo is  remarkable with both having dark hair and red lips. Decorative floral patterns are also repeated. Again symbolic meaning can be given to the similarities between the two women.

Frida Khalo was an artist, an extraordinary woman with a lust for life but who also suffered great ordeals especially in her inability to have children. This established a connection to the springbuck skull, a symbolic death of fertility.

The goal of this painting is to show that an artist does not have to necessarily add or manipulate the image to create meaning in a work. You just have to look. The meaning is already there.