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South Africa: Meet Nelson Makamo, whose remarkably striking artwork featured on Time Mag Cover

African artists are making their mark on the global stage with their creative expressions. Meet South African painter Nelson Makamo, from Limpopo whose remarkably striking work has been featured on Time Magazine cover. Makamo has exhibited on the international platform, and his work explores childhood innocence.



South African artist Nelson Makamo is among a group of African artists who are making their mark on the global stage with their creative expressions. He has held many solo and group exhibitions in in various cities across the world including New York, Paris, Boston, London, and Edinburgh, among others.

Makamo, a painter from Limpopo has made a name for himself and his remarkably striking work has been featured on Time Magazine cover. Makamo’s work is featured on Time Magazine’s Optimist issue, guest edited by Ava DuVernay, a renowned filmmaker.

The feature on Time Magazine cover has received numerous positive comments from various art lovers on social media, described as “breathtaking” and “absolutely inspiring”.

The artist has received numerous congratulatory messages, including one from the Minister of Arts and Culture in South Africa, Nathi Mthethwa, who wrote on Twitter: “Once again South African Art takes centre stage! This time through Visual Artist @nelsonmakamo whose painting has graced the cover of one of the world’s most esteemed magazines, @TIME. Halala! We know you can only fly the South African flag higher from here on”.


Makamo who is based in Johannesburg was born in 1982, in a town called Modimolle, in Limpopo province. He refined his art at Artist Proof Studios in Johannesburg where he studied print making for three years.

A description on Nelson’s biography on his website says his work is strongly influenced by the candid innocents of children. “He is particularly drawn to children in rural South Africa, he believes that they embody the peace and harmony we all strive for in life, the search for eternal joy lies in the child within us all, we are just so consumed with worldly things that we forget the simplicity of life through a child’s perspective. He evolved his scope of experience so did his medium of expression, namely charcoal, acrylic, water colours, mono-types, silk screen and oil paintings,” the website says.


“He refrains from planning his pieces and opts rather, for the canvas and days inspiration to lead him,” Makamo’s biography reads.

Makamo’s work has made a good impression, receiving positive reviews from curators and critics. Nina Mahdavi, Rise Art Curator commented on Makamo’s work writing, “I find Nelson’s drawings both moving and flawless. I personally love drawings and find that it’s important to keep this craft alive. It brings an authenticity to the work that is often overlooked in the sea of contemporary art.”