Michelle Rose Key


Michelle Rose Key is an established contemporary artist and sculptor whose work forms a part of private collections in The United States, South Africa and Australia. Born in Kenya, Michelle holds a Masters degree in Fine Art and has travelled extensively having lived in both Africa and Australia.

It was as a sculptor that she first gained recognition with a series of large scale commissioned public bronzes located at significant landmarks in Africa.

A move to Australia turned her focus to painting, where she quietly began to win noted art awards and garner praise for her unique style.

In 2016 Michelle was chosen as ‘One to Watch’ by the Saatchi On-line-Gallery in America.

As Michelle Rose Key’s reputation continues to grow Internationally, her paintings can be seen in selected commercial galleries in Australia, Spain and the United Kingdom, while in 

2017/ 2018 her latest pieces will be showcased at noted International Art Fairs.

Michelle lives in the south of Spain where her studio is located in the foothills of the town of Benahavis.



  • 2017 July  Málaga Art Fair
  • 2017 May London Royal Art Show
  • 2017 March The Other Art Fair - London
  • 2016 November Group Exhibition Perth Raw 
  • 2016  Clifton International Art Finalist 
  • 2012 Clifton International Art Finalist 
  • 2005-2010  I completed numerous large public sculptures, painted commissions. 




Kenya 1964


University of Witwatersrand South Africa: DIP Graphic Design

University of Rhodes South Africa: Bachelor of Fine Arts :Sculpture (BFA-Distinction) Masters of Fine Arts :Sculpture (MFA -Distinction)



Have you ever watched someone who is oblivious to your gaze, yet you see them being conscious of being seen?   

With social media, people put out images of themselves without any idea who will see them, people seem to make intimate connections with others they know very little about… I find this innocence and desire to be seen and recognised by the virtual friend perplexing.  Ironically I am doing the same as I write this artist statement.  

I have a fascination with old photographs. Photographs seem to have a nostalgia about the fleeting moment that has passed.  These after-images transform our memories when the viewer encounters them.  

Paintings, like photographs, are also objects that can often linger in our memories long after we had seen them. An encounter with an artwork becomes entwined with the viewer's memory, with the viewer bringing their own experiences and their inventory of memories and both viewer and painting shift because of it.

For me, the themes which I engage in have less to do with my memory of that scene but has more to do with the sensations I associate with it. 

I started painting and making objects from when I can remember. I am best known for my large bronze public sculptures in South Africa where I worked after obtaining a Masters degree in Fine Art at Rhodes University, I focused solely on painting when I moved to Australia in 2010.   I now spend much of my time in the south of Spain where I have a studio. My paintings are represented in Australia, Europe, United Kingdom, United States, and South Africa. 

My recent works have been painted on cotton paper. I enjoy working with paper as it absorbs and reacts to paint, charcoal, pastel and inks differently and creates diverse textures.   

My recent work could fit into a new movement called Abstract Realism, as my realistic figurative work at times seems to emerge from an abstract background. My work could also be described as paintings of memories and of feelings, that have been re-imagined.

I focus on solitary people, usually women, who have been photographed surreptitiously. My paintings swing from scenes that are fresh and carefree, to sensual, moody ones marked with stains that feel like they were rescued from a hazy past.  

Like a photograph, I think a painting will always be touched by the original experience and the viewer will create an entangled web of time to the painting through their own experiences.