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TITLE OF EXHIBITION

Karoo Stories

ARTISTS

Maryna Cotton
Sarel van Staden



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Exhibition statement

“As artists and visual storytellers, we are inspired and driven by the creative use of light as the proverbial paintbrush for our photography. A recent National Geographic international cover shoot, as well as the collaboration with Coenie de Villiers and Deon Meyer on Karoo Suite 2: Karoonagte planned for KKNK2020, gave us the opportunity to focus our artistic vision – yet again – on Creation’s perfect canvas: our beloved Karoo, the moon and the stars. This collection explores and highlights the often unnoticed and overlooked shapes, textures and stories of the ancient Karoo landscape.” – Sarel & Maryna 

The artists’ use of astrophotography is particularly fitting for this sensitive semi-desert landscape hosting the 64 MeerKAT antennas for the intergovernmental radio telescope project, The Square Kilometre Array.

Catalogue
Click on any image to enlarge.

*All artwork prices include VAT and courier cost
**For sales outside South Africa, courier cost are not included in the selling price


Sarel van Staden & Maryna Cotton
MeerKat 
2018

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 120 cm
Edition of 10
R 4 775 | Unframed
R 7 100 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating

The artists photographed the progress in the construction of the Square Kilometre Array in the Karoo for several years. This led to an assignment for National Geographic in 2018 and eventually a cover image on the National Geographic magazine. This image is a stitched panoramic of nine images. The MeerKAT antennas were illuminated using small LED lights.  

“MeerKAT has 64 radio antennas spread over 8 km2 square kilometres in the Northern Cape. It is the most sensitive telescope of its kind in the world and is a precursor to the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope.” – Brits In The Daily Maverick, 2019

Location: Near Carnarvon in the Great Karoo. 

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Maryna Cotton
Verwagting 
2016

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 10
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating 

The open spaces of the Great Karoo are full of stories, despite the perceived emptiness and vastness. The symbolism of a lone quiver tree standing tall in anticipation of the promise of rain resonates with the people of the Karoo. The story of this tree took a new turn not long after this image was created. It now shares its space with MeerKAT’s 64 dish antennas. 

Location: Near Carnarvon in the Great Karoo. 

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Maryna Cotton
Verenig 
2015

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 10
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating

Moonlight reveals the shapes and textures of the Karoo landscape, while the artist’s light is used as a paintbrush to highlight the textures of the ancient quiver trees. In this place, time is easily experienced as static and ancient, yet the Southern Celestial Pole and the rotation around it, tell the story of time passing after all. 

Location: Near Carnarvon in the Great Karoo. 

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Sarel van Staden
Sirius 
2017

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 7
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating

The Southern Cross and the other stars of the Milky Way show the passing of time. This artwork became the theme image for the collaborative production by Coenie de Villiers and Deon Meyer, Karoo Suite 2: Karoonagte, planned for the KKNK2020 programme.

Location: Great Karoo.

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Sarel van Staden
Geanker 
2016

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 7
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating 

Fence posts, or the refinance of fences long forgotten are very much part of Karoo landscapes. Steadfast and hardy, in harsh arid conditions, they have become symbolic for the people of the Karoo. 

Location: Near Carnarvon in the Great Karoo.

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Maryna Cotton
Besieling 
2019

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 7
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating 

Karoo landscapes speak to one’s soul, bringing about a sense of inner peace and belonging. White-washed farm buildings in contrast to the warm, rich Karoo colour pallet and bathed in moonlight: A perfect Karoo picture. 

Location: Kareeboom in the Hantam Karoo. 

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Sarel van Staden
Padlangs 
2016

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 10
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating 

The Karoo landscape is known for its indigenous quiver trees. Known as choje to the indigenous San people, the quiver tree gets its English common name from the San practice of hollowing out the tubular branches of the tree to form quivers for arrows.

Location: Great Karoo.

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Sarel van Staden
Gesigseinder 
2016

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 7
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating 

“Those who love the Karoo will be deeply touched by the work of Maryna Cotton and Sarel van Staden. My encounter with their work was gripping, moving – it made me look afresh at my beloved Karoo. We are blessed that they were prepared to embark with us on this creative journey.” – Coenie de Villiers

Location: Great Karoo.

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Sarel van Staden
Vooruitsig 
2017

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 7
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating 

The view from any Karoo stoep tells stories of hope and expectation, also of disillusionment and sometimes desperation. Beyond this gate on Kareeboom in the Hantam Karoo, the early morning brings the promise of rain. 

Location: Kareeboom in the Hantam Karoo.

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Sarel van Staden
Aandstond 
2019

Digital Photography light-painting 
Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 7
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating 

“Astrophotography is a singular art. And to do it to international standard, and have your work accepted by the National Geographic magazine, is a rare achievement. Maryna Cotton and Sarel van Staden is a South African photography team who achieved this with resounding success. Their work takes my breath away.” – Deon Meyer

Location: Gannabos in the Hantam Karoo.

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Maryna Cotton
Stargate 
2019

Giclée fine art print on 100% Ilford Cotton Rag
55 x 73.3 cm 
Edition of 7
R 4 150 | Unframed
R 6 375 | Framed
Kiaat box frame, white mount, floating 

In San star lore, the Milky Way was created by a girl who scooped up a handful of ashes from the fire and flung it into the sky. This made a glowing path along which people could see the route with which to return home at night. 

Location: Great Karoo.

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Artists’ profile

Award-winning photography duo, Sarel van Staden and Maryna Cotton not only share a passion for photography, but also a great love for the Karoo. As artists and visual storytellers, they are inspired and driven by the creative use of light in their photography.

Their creative light paintings of the Square Kilometre Array near Carnarvon were noticed by National Geographic and the pair could add National Geographic covers in 18 countries to their ever-growing list of cover publications.  

Both Sarel and Maryna’s passion for people and their eagerness to share their knowledge, makes them much-loved lecturers in the classroom and popular guest lecturers at photography clubs and workshops.

The Karoo Stories series is the result of many road-trips through the Karoo and many nights photographing under the spectacular Karoo night skies. 

“I am driven by the passion to apply the seemingly limitless possibilities of artificial light sources in my photography.” – Sarel van Staden

“I am a photographer and digital artist. My art is personal and often reflects how I look at the world. I take a lot of pleasure in noticing small details in textures and patterns that repeat in nature. Photography allows my soul to be and breathe.”
– Maryna Cotton

Sarel van Staden and Maryna Cotton


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