Nelson Makamo was born in a small town of Nylstroom (now Modimolle), Limpopo province, in 1982. Makamo moved to Johannesburg to join the Artist Proof Studio in January 2003 where he studied for 3 years and worked for another 2 years as sales representative and curator of the gallery. He was awarded a bursary from Johnson and Johnson and the Pinpoint one Human Resources Scholarship in 2005. Makamo has exhibited in group and solo exhibitions in South Africa, France, Italy, America, Netherlands, Amsterdam and Scotland. His first solo exhibition, Walk with Me, was held at the Obert Contemporary Gallery in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg. His most notable group exhibition was alongside established South African artists in Ten Years of Printmaking: David Krut Print Studio in 2006. Invited artists included David Koloane, Colbert Mashile, Deborah Bell and William Kentridge.

Makomo’s commissioned works include a series of Lekas Lekalakala’s portraits for a chamber Lekalakala opened at Potgietersrus (now Mokopane). Other commissioned works include portraits of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, and Walter Sisulu for Matasis Investment Holdings. Matasis was named after the above mentioned political figures. Makamo’s work forms part of a few collections such as those of fashion mogul Georgio Armani and musician Annie Lenox.

Makamo was Art South Africa’s Seventh Bright Young Thing and has recently won the Klipdrift Gold Artists Award. In 2010 he had numerous publications by True love Magazine, Tageblatt as well as the Mail and Guardian. In 2011 he exhibited in the Reunion Biennale of Contemporary Art, in the same year he was commissioned by the BRT (Reavaya) to install his artwork in one of the bus stations. Makamo participated as one of the artists in the 21 Year Celebration of the Artists Proof Studio at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Makamo currently works as a fulltime artist in Johannesburg with a studio at August House.



I am greatly influenced by Johannesburg as a city. It is such a dynamic space with so much to see, and so much to reflect on.
Being / Existence

My work is inspired by my existence, by the fact that I can wake up every day and see the movement around me.

I work in a number of media-­ watercolour, pen and ink, monotype, silkscreen, charcoal drawing, painting (oil). I enjoy manipulating my medium and making it seem something other than what it is. Sometimes people mistake my oil paintings for monotypes and my silkscreen could easily pass for ink on paper drawings.

The common colours that you will find in my work are red and blue. They are very symbolic. I do use red not to symbolize danger, but rather as an emotive colour that provokes feeling.

Source: Everard Read