Marieke (Rikki) Tollenaere, born in Pretoria (South Africa) in 1968, grew up in Belgium from 1970. She studied art at St. Lucas Institute (Antwerp) during high school, followed by interior design at the Academy in Antwerp, and later honed her skills by attending an intensive master painter course at Meylemans School for professional painters, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude.
After her studies, Rikki ventured into entrepreneurship, running her own painting business in Belgium. Her focus was on delivering artistry to private homes and commercial spaces, collaborating closely with interior designers and antique dealers, and specializing in the intricate art of marble and wood imitations.
The sea has always held a magnetic pull for Rikki, and in 1998, she seized the opportunity to sail to the Caribbean. This decision marked the beginning of a new chapter as she transitioned into a career as a chef on private sailing yachts, navigating different oceans, and exploring numerous countries.
Nature is Rikki’s muse, reflected in her specialization in original seascapes and abstract paintings. These two styles, distinct yet harmonious, converge to portray the colours, rhythms, and structures found both at sea and on land. Her work oscillates between almost photo-realistic depictions and more abstract, expressive pieces that invite viewers to interpret and experience the art in its own unique way.
Recently, Rikki embarked on a vibrant monochrome series, exploring bold colours to depict the diverse forms and structures found in nature. This journey has brought her full circle, reconnecting with her early exploration of different materials to create strong contemporary pieces. Oil paint is Rikki's preferred medium for seascapes, yet she revels in combining different mediums to achieve unexpected effects. Her goal is to have her paintings tell their own story, inviting people to experience them, not merely consume an image.
Rikki's artistic footprint extends beyond her studio walls, with exhibitions in Belgium, Mallorca, and Antigua. Her paintings have found homes all over the world through commissions and sales, creating a visual legacy that transcends borders.
Solo exhibitions
Newport Shipyard ,USA 2009
Restaurant Zee, Mallorca 2010
Rhythm of Blue Gallery, Antigua 2012
Abracadabra Gallery, Antigua 2017
Art@home open studio, Mallorca 2013/2014/2018
Cap Vermell Grand Hotel, Mallorca, 2019
Café René Leuven, Belgium 2022
Groups exhibitions
Harmony Hall , Antigua 2010
Mood Beach Portals , Mallorca 2013
Valldemossa Mallorca 2014
Sunset Market Puerto De Portals , Mallorca 2018
Museu del mar Soller, Mallorca 2018
The Alaro Beehive, Mallorca 2018
Nit del Art St Catalina, Mallorca 2019
Golf Son Muntaner, Mallorca 2020
Global virtual Edition: The Other Art Fair ( Saatchi Art) 2021
Kunst aan Huis3 Aarschot, Belgium 2022
Finalist Art Prize 2022. Artists of Mallorca, Can Prunera Soller Mallorca
The Floor, Berchem, Belgium 2023
Ses Rotes, The Beehive Mallorca 2023
Art@Home, Open studio Puigpunyent 2023
Son Veri, Pop up Marratxi 2023
Rhythm of Blue Gallery, Antigua (permanence since 2006)