Mandela-Nelle: Interview and Article


Mandela-Nelle interview by Darren Dunn KWED

Mandela-Nelle Bronze


Article from Seguin Today by Cindy Aguirre-Herrera on 12/02/2014 

National attention drawn to work of local artist; Local sculpture receives award in national fine art exhibition

(Seguin) — A local artist has been recognized by one of the most prestigious groups in the nation. Sculptor Marika Bordes was named the recipient of the “Claude Parsons Memorial Award.”

The award was presented by the American Artists Professional League (AAPL) during its 86th Grand National Exhibition. The presentation was made by AAPL President Peter Rossi during the group’s annual meeting and awards reception held at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.

Each year, the non-profit AAPL accepts a number of fine arts for consideration. The application alone, however, is competitive in that not everyone is allowed to participate in the contest.

Bordes, who received the award for her bronze sculpture entitled, “Mandela-Nelle” says she is appreciative to have been extended an award especially since this was her first attempt to enter the contest.

“The American Artist Professional League and the Salmagundi Club are two prestigious organizations and it is difficult to have your art accepted by the American Artist Professional League and have it exhibited at the Salmagundi Club. I was very excited to learn that Mandela-Nelle was accepted into the 86th Grand National Exhibition. I don’t know how many artists submitted applications but entries were from all 50 states as well as internationally,” said Bordes.

Each year, the organization hosts its Grand National Exhibition, a show that highlights major and emerging professional artists in oil, watercolor, pastel, sculpture, graphics and mixed media.

Bordes says on top of the national recognition, she is honored to have had her artwork exhibited in the show. She says only 29 sculptures were selected.

“It’s a woman. It’s kind of a girl and it’s an African American and she’s standing kind of walking very proud. She has a lot of pride in herself. That’s how I was picturing her when I was working on the piece,” said Bordes.

Bordes says the accomplishment is indeed one of her finest moments professionally.

“It is truly an honor to receive the Claude Parson’s memorial award particularly because of the professional stature of the judges. Along with the award certificate, the organizations sent an award plaque to affix to the base of the sculpture and a press release announcing that a Seguin artist from Texas is the recipient of the 2014 award and I think this is awesome and it filled me with joy,” said Bordes.

This year, the group highlights the achievements of 298 artists. The AAPL has devoted itself to the cause of fine arts in America since 1928.


The Coleman Theatre- Carving Passion

Theatre Poster

Theatre Poster

 Carving Passion

Miami News Record

Miami, OK

By: Jessica Graham | Posted: Thursday, June 26, 2014

MIAMI — Coleman Theater books bus tours to see Haitian wood sculptor.

Marika Bordes, from Seguin, Texas, brought 14 of her artistic wood carving pieces, which have been displayed in the grand ballroom on the top floor of the Coleman theater all week.

“It is an honor to have my art displayed in Miami,” Bordes said. “I am very happy to be here.”

Managing Director Darcie Shultz said when looking for artists to bring to Miami, Bordes stood out among the others.

Shultz said the Mid-America Arts Alliance website directed her to five state agencies which had rosters of artists who had been selected to represent their state for touring. The alliance provides grant support for programs like this one.

“So I went to the Texas Arts Council website and I went through almost every single artist in every genre and Marika just stood out to me,” Shultz said. “I thought, ‘this is really interesting.’”

She said she felt the walk-through gallery — displaying Bordes’ art — would add to the experience of the daily tours.

“I am excited to be here (at the Coleman Theater),” Marley Kuckhahn from Minnesota said. “The art is beautiful work.”

The Coleman Theater was one of the stops for a bus tour from Minnesota on its way to a mission convention in Dallas.

Bordes was born in Haiti and raised in Montreal, Canada. She said 17-years ago she met her mentor Francois Sanon, a Haitian artist, who works in the Afro-Caribbean tradition. Sanon, she said, helped her realize she had talent.

“My mentor saw it (talent) and I did not see it myself,” Bordes said. “You know when someone tells you that you are talented you don’t believe it.”

She said she gets her inspiration from daily living. One particular piece called “Carousel of Woman” represents the life of woman. She explained the piece in detail of how she carved each woman on a raft.

“The piece begins from youth and how the girl is thinking about her dresses,” Bordes said. “Then she jumps to motherhood where her world is devoted to kids and after one point in life some goes to religion and they cling to an icon, which is why I put the Virgin Mary.

“And at one point in our life there is this woman who is holding to the raft because she does not believe in anything in the world anymore. Maybe she has disappointment with kids, maybe religion but she is just holding to life without no faith at all. And then all of a sudden you have the smallest one (woman), she’s holding to nothing. It’s wisdom at that point.”

Bordes said every single piece she carves has a story. She described the feelings she had while carving “The Beggar.”

“In 2010 when my country went through that earthquake, I realized from day one to day two that a lot of people become beggar, so I started with that idea and what it did to me deeply to understand what beggar is, is the conversation I had with her (The Beggar),” Bordes said. “I tried to see the humiliation but I also try to see the hope.”

Bordes said she always uses woman as her subjects in her art work because woman are the “seed keepers and they direct the world.

The Coleman Theater hosted Bordes’ last viewing on Thursday but her sculptors can be seen on her website at

Coleman Theatre Marquee

Coleman Theatre Marquee