Arlene Amaler-Raviv | The Din of Daily Life : The Melrose Gallery

This artist voices the sounds of protest, lamentation, joy and quiet conversation. Her voice is singing, calling, longing, weeping and shouting in its engagement with the viewer.

Her paintings track the movement of displacements, transitions and relocations while trying to anchor herself in a world of flux and transition.

For Amaler-Raviv, everything is ‘terribly important’ and intensely felt. This fragility and passion becomes her strength. She appears in her paintings at many different times, in many different guises.


Amaler-Raviv stated that; “I try to give a voice to the voiceless — to translate the din of our daily lives, through the painted mark. The archetypal figure, who is any person in survival mode, strides with purpose through my canvasses, repeating like a mantra:  keep going, keep walking, keep striving, keep hoping, keep overcoming, keep living. I have lived my life in this way; picking myself up, mending broken pieces and striding forward by painting, painting and painting. I have painted myself out of a corner so many times. The six panels of postcards, Africa meets Europe is a collection of images over 40 years, documenting my journey as a painter”.


The artist cherishes the following quote by Pearl Primus in her notebook; “My life has been like travelling up a river. Every now and then I would hear singing around the bend and so around the bend I would go and become occupied with living”.

Arlene Amaler-Raviv was born in Johannesburg and received a Bachelor of Arts degree (Fine Arts) from the University of the Witwatersrand under the supervision of Robert Hodgins. In the 1970s she was involved in art education, workshops, teaching and teacher training programmes.

Craig Mark; The Melrose Gallery Director says “Johannesburg plays an integral role in Arlene’s work and we are pleased to be assisting in presenting this exciting exhibition to her large base of loyal collector’s and art enthusiasts in her home town”.

Since 1979 she has held many solo exhibitions at the Everard Read Gallery, Market Theatre Gallery and group shows locally and internationally. During the 1990s she lectured at the University of Pretoria, FUBA and at the Katlehong Art Centre (BACA). In 1996 she lived in the Netherlands where she assisted in the curatorship of the exhibition of Africa meets Africa at the Museum of Ethnology, Rotterdam.


Amaler-Raviv moved to Cape Town in 1997 and has been involved in numerous projects. These include a twenty-meter sight-specific installation for the District Six Sculpture Project entitled Dislocation Relocation; large oil paintings on glass entitled Departure that was exhibited at Mark Coetzee Fine Art and two collaborative exhibitions with photographer Dale Yudelman, namely One exhibited at the Association for Visual Arts and Where the Mountain meets the City exhibited at 232 Long Street.


Vodacom commissioned Amaler-Raviv to create an installation of seventeen oil paintings on aluminium in 2000. In 2002 Spier acquired a 2m x 2m portrait of Mandela for their collection. Many of her paintings and works hang in private collections around the world and publicly in major art collections in South Africa.