Sam Nhlengethwa, a contemporary artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa, is a prolific artist who has worked in a range of media, exploring multiple themes: life under the Apartheid regime, jazz icons, daily life in South Africa’s townships, and miners.
For his Tribute series, Nhlengethwa created a range of prints that pay homage to several artists that have, in his words, "paved the way for South African art." These include South African artists such as David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, and Gerard Sekoto, but also international artists including Romare Bearden, Henri Matisse, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. By recognizing their influences upon his own work, Nhlengethwa shows an exchange of ideas within and across borders that moves past the oft-stated influence of African artworks on avant-garde European artists. His Tribute Series confirms that African artists are by no means working in an isolated context, but are active participants in a global art world.
This installation highlights two works from Nhlengethwa’s Tribute series recently acquired by UMMA.