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Nelson Makamo Launches First Solo U.S. Exhibition, ‘BLUE’ – VIBE.com

The cool, breezy fall night in Los Angeles served as the perfect setting for Nelson Makamo’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Earlier this month (Oct. 6), the South African artist gathered a small crowd of close friends, celebrities, and press for a first look at the collection, ‘BLUE’ during a private VIP dinner attended by VIBE.  The event, sponsored by DeLeón Tequila, allowed guests to view his stunning paintings, experience an interactive portrait booth, and enjoy a custom cocktail inspired by Makamo’s artwork.

Guests included actress & comedian Tiffany Haddish, musician BJ the Chicago Kid, contemporary artist Ferrari Sheppard, artist Knowledge Bennet, international pop star Maya Sho’Madjoz. Throughout the evening, attendees indulged in a three-course dinner of Pan-African soul food prepared by chef Solomon Johnson with the atmosphere’s music set by Poison Ivy. 

BJ The Chicago Kid Nelson Makamo

BJ The Chicago Kid And Nelson Makamo In Conversation In Front Of Artwork At His Exhibition ‘BLUE’
Jorge Meza

Nelson Makamo has worked for over 16 years as an artist. His mixed media style and unique mark-making technique have established his signature work. Based in Johannesburg, he is currently one of the world’s young and most sought-after visual artists. Makamo has exhibited in South Africa, the USA, France, Italy, the Netherlands, England, Scotland, and Finland, with artwork displayed in both public and private collections. 

As guests walked through the art gallery, audible gasps could be heard as many were stopped in their tracks by Makamo’s charcoal and oil paintings. The artwork depicts African children in destitute, each subject with their own pull. The varying emotions of each child painted by Makamo are illustrated through facial expression, poses, and hue. 

His ‘BLUE’ exhibition has been in the works for quite some time for Makamo. The 44-piece collection marks the largest he has ever showcased. According to a press release, the work “explores the emotive range of the color – blue summons an age of recognition, transition, and development; it is overflowing with opportunities because it is undoubtedly of a feminine resolve.” 

Tiffany Haddish at Nelson Makamo's 'BLUE' Exhibition

Tiffany Haddish Poses In Front Of Artwork At Nelson Makamo’s Exhibition ‘BLUE’
Jorge Meza

Nelson Makamo 'BLUE' Exhibiton

View of artwork featured in Nelson Makamo’s ‘BLUE’ Exhibition
Jorge Meza

Nelson Makamo Presents BLUE

Nelson Makamo stands at the entrance to his exhibition ‘BLUE’
Jorge Meza

Beyond the art, another highlight of the night was the Deleon Tequila sponsored cocktails provided to guests at two different bars. The spirited refreshments were created with Makamo’s color palette central to the aesthetic with edible cobalt blue paint the same hue as many of his artworks used in one beverage.

DeLeón Tequila recognizes and supports the artistry and craftsmanship of cultural architects like Nelson,” says Ingrid Best, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Marketing, Spirits, Combs Enterprises. “When I heard about his US exhibition, I knew we had to support this history-making moment in a real way. DeLeón is honored to join Nelson as he continues to capture the world with his talent. And we look forward to celebrating other artists, like Nelson, who break boundaries with their art.”

Bartender Mixing Deleon Cocktail

Bartender Mixing Deleon Cocktail Inspired By Nelson Makamo’s Exhibition ‘BLUE’
Jorge Meza

‘BLUE’ will be in residency through November 20 in Los Angeles. To schedule a visit, interested patrons can contact [email protected] to make an appointment.

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