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Art

Mixed-Media Portraits by Nelson Makamo Reflect Childhood Innocence and Wonder

February 12, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Nelson Makamo, shared with permission

Nelson Makamo (previously) is known for his oversized, lively portraits of the children and teens he meets around Johannesburg. Using a distinct blend of acrylic, watercolors, monotypes, silkscreen, and oil paint, the South African artist often delineates their silhouettes with a thick line of charcoal before adding colorful details to their clothing and faces. The resulting works are simultaneously earnest and imbued with a sense of wonder.

Whether posed or engaged in rowdy activities, many of the subjects sport bright, round glasses, emphasizing Makamo’s focus on viewing the world through the lens of childhood. His subjects “embody the peace and harmony we all strive for in life, the search for eternal joy lies in the child within us all. We are just so consumed with worldly things that we forget the simplicity of life through a child’s perspective,” he says in a statement.

Makamo recently closed a solo exhibition at Botho Project Space this January, and you can find more of his dynamic pieces on Artsy and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Candid Charcoal and Oil Paint Portraits of South African Children by Nelson Makamo

May 30, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Nelson Makamo, "We are Angels with Dirty Faces," all images by Andile Buka

Nelson Makamo, “We are Angels with Dirty Faces,” all documentation by Andile Buka

Johannesburg, South Africa-based artist Nelson Makamo (previously) uses paint and charcoal to create works that capture the candid nature of childhood. His subjects are often South African children, including his 11 year-old cousin Mapule Maoto who is commonly featured in his drawings, watercolors, monotypes, and oil paintings. The gestural pieces aim to present a child’s perspective, with playfully drawn flowers presented in the subjects’ hands or hair and big, round glasses on their faces.

Recently the artist created a new piece of Maoto for the cover of Time Magazine. His solo exhibition, which includes these paintings and more, will be shown at Loo&Lou in Paris through July 27, 2019. You can see more of his paintings of children and other subjects on his website and Instagram.

"A Gaze in Inverse"

“A Gaze in Inverse”

"To Paris with Love"

“To Paris with Love”

"Decoration of the Youth"

“Decoration of the Youth”

"Untitled"

“Untitled”

"Untitled"

“Untitled”

"Women of Coulour"

“Women of Coulour”

Photograph by Solomon Moremong

 

 



Art

Artist Nelson Makamo's Dynamic Portraits of Johannesburg Children

September 9, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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With a dizzying flurry of oil paints, watercolors, silkscreen & monotype printing techniques, charcoal, and ink, artist Nelson Makamo captures the daily life of South African children as reflected in their charismatic faces. Based in Johannesburg, Makamo prefers to refer to himself as a storyteller or narrator of what he encounters everyday. “I document each day visually because for me each day is a blessing, being able to capture movements and feelings of people who live around me.” His portraits depict hopeful faces filled with laughter and confidence, awash in spirited dashes of color. Via Salon Ninety One:

Key themes informing Makamo’s practice include the city of Johannesburg with its dizzying dynamism, portraiture, the narrative of the artist’s personal history – an unpolitical archive of personal experience, as well as themes of migration, urbanization, identity, masquerade and the transition from childhood to adulthood. Makamo ultimately strives to communicate a universal experience, which viewers can relate to and access through his artwork.

Makamo has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows in South Africa, France, Italy, the U.S., The Netherlands and Scotland over the last few years. You can see more of his artwork at Candice Berman Fine Art or follow him on Instagram. And just in case you were wondering, his shoes. (via Lustik)

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Art

Vertical Aerial: A Monumental 3-Ton Aerial Mosaic of Johannesburg

October 3, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Artist Gerhard Marx in conjunction with Spier Architectural Arts recently created an enormous sculptural mosaic of an aerial photograph of Johannesburg, South Africa. Seven professional mosaic artists, together with nine apprentices worked for 5 months to complete the project using natural stone such as marble and travertine, fragments of red brick, ceramic elements and chips of Venetian smalti glass. In the end, the 56-panel aerial image weighs nearly three tons and was presented last month at the 2013 FNB Joburg Art Fair.

Watch the video above to see how the piece came together, and also learn about another work created through an additional partnership between Spier and artist Sam Nhlengethwa. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Art

ROA Stacks African Animals on a Building Facade in Johannesburg

October 30, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Street artist ROA was recently in Johannesburg where he created this epic new work featuring six enormous African animals lounging on the side of a building. ROA’s work has been popping up everywhere lately including a stop here in Chicago just last month. See many more photos of this latest piece shot by Martha Cooper over on I Art Joburg.