(b.1981, Port Elizabeth, South Africa)
James Nilsen-Misra is a visual artist, now based in Cape Town. His works have been exhibited at Everard Read Gallery, Ebony Curated, Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, ABSA gallery and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum.
Working in the inky darkness with just a single lamp to illuminate the scene in front of him, Nilsen-Misra produces eerie filmic and domestic scenes shrouded in shadows. Working with black chalk on blacker chalk, the scenes that emerge reflect fragments of a life. One becomes aware of a deep, closeted space, underneath the shadows that draw the viewer inward, as if you are looking deeper into an unknown and unconscious space.
He was selected to participate in the Business and Arts South Africa Dynamic Program, Jo’burg Fringe, That Art Fair and Cape Town Art Week Open Studios. James has collaborated with Artist Proof Studios on a series of prints.
Nilsen-Misra acted in performance art pieces with Athi Patra Ruga and Elgin Rust in Uit Die Room Van Onse Liefde and Translation Games. He was a producer for Handspring Puppet Company, working alongside Basil Jones on the Tony Award-winning production War Horse, based in Cape Town for five years and on the road in London, New York and Los Angeles. Other projects included Janni Younge's Ouroboros and William Kentridge's il Ritorno d'Ulisse, Woyzeck on the Highveld and Ubu and the Truth Commission.
After qualifying with a BTech Fine Art degree from NMU and a National Diploma in Illustration, Nilsen-Misra went on to complete a BA(Hons) degree in Production Design from AFDA. He served on the board of the Association for Visual Arts in Cape Town for 4 years.