Sam Nhlengethwa


This solo exhibition of acclaimed black South African artist Sam Nhlengethwa features four series of limited-edition prints.

Nhlengethwa dedicates ten prints to great Jazz artists-both South African and American, and some, like Miriam Makeba and Abdullah Ibrahim, famous in both countries-who have inspired him.

“Like a jazz musician who can depart from the original melody altogether and improvise on its harmonic base, I create a well-balanced final product with interesting textures, perspective, and dimensions from juxtaposing pieces from different original backgrounds. What I am doing is not new though, as there are other artists before me, who painted jazz pieces – e.g. Gerard Sekoto, Romare Bearden, and Henri Matisse.”

The collage-like construction of his images is also evident in another series of prints which celebrate domestic interiors that either stuck in his memory or that belonged to artists who inspired him. The scenes range from rural African interiors with signature ethnic murals to sophisticated urban interiors whose blend of Western and non-Western elements could be a stylish interior in Paris, New York, or Johannesburg.