Nelson Makamo’s to start with solo exhibition with Increase Art ran from July 22 – August 25 in London’s Fitzrovia. Below, our Curator Phin Jennings displays on the clearly show.
By Phin Jennings | 14 Dec 2022
“I see them, and they see me so I paint them.” It is early June, the starting of winter in Johannesburg, and I am with Nelson Makamo in his studio. Laid out on the floor in entrance of us are about 30 paintings and drawings, a new human body of get the job done for his very first London solo exhibition in additional than 5 years. He is talking about the aspect of trade in his function: “and they see me.”
The way that Makamo’s figures search out at the viewer has develop into a recognisable function of his drawings and paintings. Wanting at them, I can truly feel my gaze currently being satisfied by a matter that appears to be again at me. The people today he attracts and paints – usually younger people of African villages – are engaged in a reciprocal marriage with the viewer when you see an artwork by Makamo, there is a emotion that you are getting seen as well. For the reason that of this, they demand additional treatment and consideration than most portraits do.
At the exhibition’s opening reception, some months soon after I first encountered the artworks in Makamo’s studio, I overheard anyone conversing about their individual encounter of this experience: “Nelson’s perform just can make you stop.”
This quality of the artist’s work is no accident. In acquiring them glimpse again at the viewer, Makamo offers his subjects the agency that they are too frequently denied. Outside of the artist’s work, African kids are usually depicted as getting destitute and hopeless, a just one-dimensional and voyeuristic narrative that dehumanises them by getting away their potential to outline on their own. There is a skewed stability of ability, and no component of trade they are appeared at by the planet, but robbed of the potential to return its gaze. Makamo redresses this stability by acquiring his subjects satisfy the eye of the viewer, providing them back again their personalities.
In this exhibition, our London viewers was exposed to the sheer variety of these personalities. The thirty 3 operates on display depicted curiosity, defiance, melancholy, yearning, generosity, joy, mischievousness and so substantially a lot more. To me, Makamo’s work is all about altering perceptions. My hope for this exhibition, the artist’s re-introduction to the Uk, is that guests left with their perceptions of Africa changed, the worn out trope of hopelessness changed with some of Makamo’s undiluted expressions of individuality.