Tina Marais is a Canadian textile and visual artist, who lives and works in the greater Montreal region. She was born in 1977 in Cape Town, South-Africa. She creates large scale textile abstractions and sculptural work which attempt to map the unpredictability of human experience and impact of environmental change. Her work has been exhibited regionally, nationally, and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions. She has also been selected for various international textile art biennales, most notably the 16th International Triennial of Tapestry in Lotz, Poland. Material Thinking 1st international, Contemporary Material Art biennale, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, and as invited artist at the BIEN Biennially, in Slovenia. As well as the “World Textile art Biennale of contemporary Textile art”, in Montevideo, Uruguay, Madrid, Spain, and Miami, USA Her works are included in various public and private collections, in Canada and internationally. Her artistic practices include Cultural Mediation projects presented in the greater Montreal region. Struthers has continued to contribute to this initiative with the creation and implementation of commissioned Public arts projects. She has developed and realized over 70 socially engaged projects during the past 10 years. She represents Fine Craft on the administrative councils of Culture Monteregie, and the Conseil des Arts et de la culture de Vaudreuil- Soulanges. Marais is a recipient of grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des Arts et lettres du Quebec and various prizes and mentions. She was awarded the Dora and Avi Morrow Fellowship for Excellent Achievement in Visual Arts, by Concordia university in 2019, and The Joyce Melville Memorial Scholarship, in 2021. She was one of the three finalists for the Prix Charles-Biddle-2019, and was winner of the prestigious Artiste in the community award, in 2021, for the project Rassemblement from the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec. She graduated from the Open Window Art Institute in Pretoria, South-Africa where she studied Visual communication with Fine art specialization, after which the focus of her work shifted to using textile as her principal medium, completing a Masters Degree in Fiber and Material practices at Concordia university in Montreal in 2022.
Unfold, my skin, 2022.
Hand and machine stitched Material: Linen and hemp. Montreal, Photo Credit: Paul Litherland, Studio LuxQuebec
Fragile scarred skin covers the memories of entwined things. Bodies that have become vessels for interlaced narratives, unravelled, revealed.
There is an inexhaustible tension between weft and grain, between the human and non human, webbing of emotional elasticity as I map the entangled memories of territories and matter. The cloth of things can be torn, the skin of things can be stretched too thin.
Skin is the largest organ of the human body; it is elastic, it has an incredible capacity to renew itself, and is both the first defence and principal receptor to the environment. Skin holds our bodies together, it has highly sensitive touch and pain sensors, it is embedded in our identity and fragility as a human species.
Sleep in the bed that you made, 2021
Contextile artistique residencies 2022 . CONVENTO SANTO ANTÓNIO DOS CAPUCHOS, Guimarães, Portugal. Machine and hand stitched. Portugese Linen. Photo Credit : Johanna Rogalla
Considering the inherent link between the industrialization of the textile industry, and the footprint this leaves on contemporary culture. It is also a thread that connects the history of place, its past, present, and future, entangled in the threads of textile making. It is this overlapping flux of time and its imprint on territory that I am exploring, specifically as it relates to Guimarães. Visualizing textile as skin, body traces on bed sheets, a place of healing as it connects to the hospital where residencies are hosted.
These inseparable and interwoven realities, of bodies, social structures, and ecological concerns carry a fragility, and one weak thread can damage an entire section of the “tissue” causing the unraveling and collapse of multiple systems. By investigating views of the interconnectivity and agencies of materiality, can we re- make and ultimately respond with more sustainable solutions?
Under Currents, 2022
Machine and hand stitched, embroidery. Tea Bags, Pistachio Shells, Embroidery thread, on cotton backing. Photo Credit: Paul Litherland, Studio Lux. Place of Exhibition: “Material Thinking” 1st International Contemporary Material Art Biennale (Forbidden City) 2022/2023 at the Nanchizi Museum Beijing
The transformative potential of matter attracts me. The selection of which molecular assemblages are connected to my personal environment is a curious process.
The pathways of materials from post human use fascinates and unsettles me. I use single-use items ̶ teabags creating lines that map their trajectory across a shape resembling South Africa, a critical point in transit from the east to the west. Within the teabags are discarded shells of pistachios, an organic element, but also a strong symbol in certain cultures. I am reflecting on the undercurrents that shift materials across the globe.