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b. 1955, South Africa

Sam Nhlengethwa Biography

Born in Springs, South Africa in 1955. Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Nhlengethwa was born into a family of jazz lovers; his two brothers both collected jazz music and his deceased eldest brother was a jazz musician. 'Painting jazz pieces is an avenue or outlet for expressing my love for the music,' he once said in an interview. 'As I paint, I listen to jazz and visualise the performance. Jazz performers improvise within the conventions of their chosen styles. In an ensemble, for example, there are vocal styles that include freedom of vocal colour, call-and-response patterns and rhythmic complexities played by different members. Painting jazz allows me to literally put colour onto these vocal colours.'

'Jazz is rhythmic and it emphasises interpretation rather than composition. There are deliberate tonal distortions that contribute to its uniqueness. My jazz collages, with their distorted patterns, attempt to communicate all of this. As a collagist and painter, fortunately, the technique allows me this freedom of expression...What I am doing is not new though, as there are other artists before me who painted jazz pieces. For example, Gerard Sekoto, Romare Bearden and Henri Matisse.'

Sam Nhlengethwa Featured Artworks

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Art Blakey by Sam Nhlengethwa contemporary artwork mixed media
Sam NhlengethwaArt Blakey, 2021Mixed media on canvas
100.5 x 70.5 x 10 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Count Basie’s Band by Sam Nhlengethwa contemporary artwork mixed media
Sam NhlengethwaCount Basie’s Band, 2021Mixed media on canvas
90.2 x 100.4 x 9.8 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Frank Sinatra by Sam Nhlengethwa contemporary artwork mixed media
Sam NhlengethwaFrank Sinatra, 2021Mixed media on canvas
100.5 x 90.5 x 10.1 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Cecil Taylor by Sam Nhlengethwa contemporary artwork mixed media
Sam NhlengethwaCecil Taylor, 2021Mixed media on canvas
90.5 x 100.5 x 10.1 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Charles Mingus by Sam Nhlengethwa contemporary artwork mixed media
Sam NhlengethwaCharles Mingus, 2021Mixed media on canvas
100.5 x 90.5 x 10 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
John Lee Hooker by Sam Nhlengethwa contemporary artwork mixed media
Sam NhlengethwaJohn Lee Hooker, 2021Mixed media on canvas
100.5 x 90.5 x 10 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Johnny Hartman by Sam Nhlengethwa contemporary artwork mixed media
Sam NhlengethwaJohnny Hartman, 2021Mixed media on canvas
100.5 x 90.5 x 10.1 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery
Michel Petrucciani by Sam Nhlengethwa contemporary artwork mixed media
Sam NhlengethwaMichel Petrucciani, 2021Mixed media on canvas
90.5 x 100.5 x 10 cm
Goodman Gallery Contact Gallery

Sam Nhlengethwa Recent Exhibitions

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Sam Nhlengethwa Represented By

Goodman Gallery contemporary art gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa Goodman Gallery Cape Town, East Hampton, Johannesburg, London
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