NELSON MAKAMO: The Re-Awakening



NELSON MAKAMO: The Re-Awakening
Mar 7 – Mar 30, 2018

Please join us at 18:30 on Wednesday 7th March 2018 at CIRCA Cape Town for the opening of Nelson Makamo's new solo exhibition. Exhibition concludes 30th March 2018

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EVERARD READ/CIRCA GALLERIES are delighted to present a solo exhibition by Nelson Makamo at their CIRCA space.

This is Makamo’s fourth solo show in the Everard Read/CIRCA galleries and first in Cape Town in three years.

Makamo is a prodigious draughtsman, a talent that can only be described, in his case, as innate. A visit to his studio quickly reveals that nothing is safe from his obsession with drawing.  The fridge, the chest of drawers, the walls have all been embellished with his fluid mark making.  Some frivolous, others poignant, Makamo is constantly drawing his world. Although his treatment of his subjects, typically in charcoal, is sometimes celebratory and other times subdued, it is always honest in the sense that they are faithful renderings of the spirit and demeanour of the “sitter”.  And yet, while his subjects are unequivocally of this world (his narratives largely being derived from youths remembered and recorded in his native rural communities),  there is something provocative about his portraits that suggests he is also creating or demanding his own reality – as if charcoal could somehow conjure new realities.

Included on this exhibition for the first time are three new oil paintings which demonstrate the artist’s growing confidence in the medium, as well as a collection of very personal sketchbook drawings that are both playful and considered, giving a fascinating insight into the evolution of his ideas.

Of this body of work Makamo says:

People understand the concept of freedom in various ways - we have moved past a single perspective. I have always had an interest in what is going to happen tomorrow and my depiction of youth in this series of work represents a perspective of moving forward. Being born in the 80’s, I have found that certain structures restricted our options, on who we wanted to be, or where we wanted to go. I feel that we are in a time of re-emergence. Our current political and economic climate forces us to re-imagine our future. This body of work depicts today’s youth in a re-imagined future - a future where the perspective of black youth is no longer of disadvantage or despair, but that of bright lights that will illuminate the future of the continent. I am fascinated by where they will end up. This show draws the parallels of my simple upbringing of the 80’s, the nostalgia of what today’s youth might be missing out on in these complex times, but also the opportunity that lies in this time of re-awakening.

Certainly we are in need of a re-awakening in South Africa and if our artists and poets can’t be relied on to invigorate the process then who can? Nelson Makamo endeavours to capture the essence of our youths and the hope, despair, bravado and charisma that might be required to imagine a new future and in so doing reminds us of our humanity and exhorts us to honour it.


*Images courtesy of Michael Hall