Marté Szirmay was born in Budapest and immigrated to New Zealand in 1957, aged 11. She graduated DFA (Hons) from the University of Auckland School of Fine Arts in 1968 and attained a Diploma in Teaching in 1970 from Auckland Secondary Teachers College.
Since 1969, Szirmay has held numerous solo exhibitions within New Zealand including at Lopdell House and Gow Langsford in Auckland. Internationally she has participated in Group exhibitions in London, Budapest, Helsinki, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Sweden, Crete, Spain and Australia. She is represented in private and public collections throughout the world.
Szirmay draws inspiration straight from nature, basing her sculptural language on forms including shells, eggs, seed pods, bones and fossils, trees and fern fronds. The artist explains that her artist practice allows her to pay homage to the organic. She produces both small and large scale work and her commissions have included architectural sculpture and civic pieces. Her almost 8 metre high, 40 ton gateway work Yantra for Woollaston Estate in Nelson is a particularly strong work.
In 1971-72 Szirmay was the Frances Hodgkins Fellow at the University of Otago, Dunedin and was awarded QEII Arts Council Grants in 1973, 1978 and again in 1982. Also in 1982, she was visiting Artist at the Johnson Atelier, Princeton, New Jersey and, the following year, at Governors State University, Illinois, USA.
Szirmay utilises both the lost-wax casting technique for small pieces and welded sheet metal for most of the large works.