22/07/2022 - 25/08/2022

New Work - Painting

Nelson Makamo

Mon-Wed: 11-6pm; Thu: 11-8pm (Late Opening); Sat: 11-6pm

"The stereotype of the lonely artist does not apply to South African painter and draftsman Nelson Makamo.

Meeting people, speaking with them and learning about them are as important to his practice as drawing and painting are. Togetherness, not loneliness, is at the core of the artist’s work. It might seem surprising, then, that the drawings he first became known for tend to feature solitary, disembodied subjects. In these solo portraits, Makamo’s talent for capturing the emotional intensity and overwhelming sense of hope in his sitters is a matter of expression and movement.

For the artist’s first UK solo exhibition in more than five years, his characters are beginning to congregate. For the first time we are seeing them in situ, as members of a wider community. Alongside solitary, meditative characters, there are groups of laughing schoolchildren, busy streets scenes and other displays of togetherness.

This brings a new level of detail to Makamo’s world: the spaces that they occupy, the clothes that they wear, the company that they keep and the way that they look (or don’t look) at their companions all bring depth and complexity to his characters.

With these new contexts, the emotional intensity of Makamo’s work has not disappeared. Many of the faces in this exhibition - their owners engaged in social activities - contain all the emotional intensity of his early drawings. Momentarily these faces hover above their surroundings, their innermost essences exposed. They are both members of social groups and wider contexts and overwhelmingly individual. They are alone, together."


Fitzrovia 67 Great Titchfield St, W1W 7PT