Sarel Petrus lives in Pretoria, South Africa, where his sculpture studio is located. After many years apprenticing with the sculptor Guy du Toit, Sarel started his own studio space.
Sarel has exhibited in many group exhibitions across South Africa, was a top 10 finalist in the 2007 ABSA La’telier, and was awarded the Sculpture Merit Award at the 2014 Tami Mnyele Fine Art Awards.
His exhibition schedule, coupled with his passion for hiking and rock climbing means that he frequently travels to cities and to isolated places. In addition, he allows his mind to journey into the strange relationship between traditional and throw-away culture and what is left of nature as humans and other species fight for existence. City and town dwellers, largely cut off from natural continuity and natural spaces, are mostly unaware of what they leave behind wherever they go. But human existence and the natural environment are linked through timeless, hidden convergences of what we lack and what we have in abundance. In his work, Sarel refers to an obscure past to imagine a new voice for the abstract realities of objects.
According to Sarel Petrus:
My works are trophies for the lives of others, even though their stories are unknown to me. These unknown stories create spaces for us to fill in our own stories and they thus become metaphors for our own memories and emotions. I select found objects for their visual impact and for the stories they don’t tell. Each object retains its own secret past. Our own end, death and decay might be predictable and unavoidable, but the paths we take and the distances we travel are clear.
Sarel's intricate sculptures currently showing at Artvark Gallery are based on paper jets. He starts by carving into paraffin wax, inscribing words into the surface of the paper jets. He then creates a silicone mould of the sculpture. Then he castes liquid bronze into the mould. The paper jets is conceptually a playful way of casting ideas into the wind, letting the results unfold even in times of uncertainty as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic.