Saturday 15 May 2021
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Nelson Makamo

If you are an art lover and even if you are not, you are apt to be blown away by the astounding and unique artworks of Nelson Makamo.  The unique and expressive portraits can be spotted from a ways away.
The Joburg based artist uses printmaking techniques (which he studied) which evolved with the use of charcoal, acrylics, water colours and oils to create breath-taking pieces of art inspired at first by his home country and later, as he began to travel the world and realise that the world over human beings are no different from each other.
Nelson’s main interest has been in representing children as he is drawn to their innocence and unencumbered joy.  Many of his portraits often depict subjects with spectacles and the significance of this to the artist is that every person is unique and intelligence.  In his view art spectacles are depicting intelligence which he believes every person has in unique ways.

In 2018 Nelson turned his attention to the women of his native South Africa where he depicted their daily challenges.
He has had successful exhibitions in South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom and across Europe and his travels have given even more depth to his unique paintings.
Nelson’s aim has been to show the South African child in a positive light, as a reminder to them that they can be and do anything that they want to.  And what a positive reminder from somebody who was raised in the countryside of South Africa.
He says that he is inspired by his daily encounters with people, news events or even a song that he might be listening to.  He pours his heart into every piece as he collects materials to put on a collage from which he proceeds to paint.
Interestingly this artist does not use sketches because each painting ‘directs where it should be taken.’
Nelson says he is fascinated by collectors and where his work is displayed.  He finds it a novelty and a priceless feeling for his work to be admired by others.
This artist is not necessarily inspired by other artists, saying that he studies his own work most times, to see where he can push himself and improve his craft.  He does not plan his work but goes with what compels him at that particular time and he uses mediums that will be impactful on the content of the work.
Born in Limpopo in South Africa during 1982 Nelson strives to capture the everyday goings on in the dailylives of people.
He says on the Everard Read website,”In my work, I reflect on the movement of culture amongst the youth living in and around the city. My observation is that there is an exchange between people where we adopt each other’s cultures that are relevant to our respective ages.


I am greatly fascinated by this, and how we in turn manage our identity with different personas. Therefore, my work aims to show that we are always changing and moving in a path of self-discovery. My work does not represent a certain group of people, it moves across cultures and generations.”

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