Globally acclaimed South African artist Nelson Makamo opened his first independent solo US exhibition, presenting the latest body of his work BLUE. He tells us more
After planning the exhibition for four years, Nelson Makamo’s exhibition was put together independently and brought together an all-female group of black professionals who helped curate the show. Nelson and his team selected Los Angeles this past weekend to open and showcase his first US solo exhibition. The thirty-nine-year-old has an astounding artistic aptitude and studied printmaking at Artist Proof Studios in Johannesburg. The Joburg-based artist tells us more
What influences the art that you create?
My work is strongly influenced by the candid innocence of youth. I am particularly drawn to people of rural South Africa because I believe they embody the peace and harmony we all strive for in life, where the search for joy lies within our childhood virtues.
Take us through the process of doing your artwork?
I naturally refrain from planning my pieces, opting instead for the canvas and the day’s inspiration to lead me. I use various tools, such as charcoal, acrylic, oil-paint, water colours, monotypes and lithography, for my artwork.
Where is your work based?
I currently work as a full-time artist from my studio in the heart of Johannesburg, in a space I deem to be the most sacred place in the world.
What makes you stand out as an artist?
I believe my work speaks to my re-imagining of what it means to be African. I am known for my multimedia portraiture with aspects and details that spark conversations with the viewer, including glasses, headphones and fashion. I also depict the emotional energy about my subjects, which resonates deeply and evokes sentiments of nostalgia.
What has been one of your highlights in your career?
The fact that my artwork has resonated with a global audience over the past decade, with my work featured in various prestigious public and private exhibitions and collections in countries across Africa, Europe and recently New York City. Also, my work was recently commissioned for the cover of TIME Magazine’s February 2019 “Optimism” issue, which was guest-edited by American award-winning filmmaker and director Ava DuVernay.
Tell us more about the exhibition, Blue. What message do you want to convey through it?
With the latest piece of work BLUE, we don’t only want to share our story, but invite people to the exhibition to be a part of the conversation. As much as I live on the African continent, I don’t want my work to only have a frame of where I live in South Africa. I want my work to resonate with people from all walks of life, from different races and backgrounds, the global community at large. It’s about connecting artists on a global platform through this exhibition. And lastly, like all my previous work, the underlined theme of this exhibition is about hope. When you think about the future, you think of hope. I look forward to how the world receives BLUE!
8th October – 20th November 2021 (open to public)
Mondays, Tuesdays: Appointment only)
Wednesdays, Thursdays: 11am-6pm PT
Fridays, Saturdays: 11am-7pm PT
Sundays: 11am-5pm PT
To visit the show, guests can sign up via www.nelsonmakamo.com.
▪ Arts District, DTLA; 1242 Palmetto Street; Los Angeles, CA
Photos: Jorge Meza, Instagram