As a descendant of Surinamese parents, she was born and raised in The Netherlands. Her cultural background of Afro Caribbean influences like language, colors and traditions have shaped a great portion of her upbringing in the Western world. Being bilingual has proven to give an advantage at comprehending and crossing between the Western and Afro Caribbean culture.
With an academic background in financial studies, she chose a different route. Even though her career subsequently has led her into the financial world, she perceived her trajectory in life to be one that is closer to her talent and desire in the artistic field. One that would allow her to express and analyze her observations of cultural and societal structures and beliefs. Her sensitivity and observances of people’s behavior have been
at the center of her studies and art practice for over a decade.
She works predominantly on canvas and uses oil, acrylic and occasionally other media. Her goal is to explore the world that shows stories of people from the Afro and Afro Caribbean diaspora living in the Western World, unfiltered and authentic. Other aspects that influence her work come through self exploration, dance, music, cultural
references and research through written and verbal resources.
Her work is colorful, sensual and always poses the viewer to question what they see and believe. It questions how one can remove layers, filters and other obstacles that obstruct one right to tell their story, as is.
What matters is that you as the viewer are intrigued. Color, small symbols and full
display of personality are a few of the many elements that play an animated role in the
artwork of Marilva Berrenstein.
The stories that are placed on the canvases demonstrate the playfulness of what people from the African diaspora encounter in the current setting of time. Our view has been strongly influenced by what we know and have been taught about history. In many cases this can overrule the beauty of existing traditions, word of mouth and development of tribes and nations.
What was once the beauty of community in which bonding, innovations and everyday life found its expression through music, word, images is being questioned, infected and affected. Loud, live and in color. We still are and our stories still need to be seen from that lens and perspective. Strip away societal pressure, filters and judgment and you are left with a pure and uncanny vision of who we are as people in our core.