Sam Nhlengethwa: Jazz and Blues at Night

Sam Nhlengethwa: Jazz and Blues at Night-Omenka Online

From 12 August to 18 September 2021, Goodman Gallery London will present Jazz and Blues at Night, a new series of mixed media paintings, drawings, prints and tapestry by Sam Nhlengethwa, paying homage to the musicians that have inspired him throughout his five decades-long artistic career. The works will be shown alongside a listening station, where visitors can sit back, relax and select from some of Nhlengethwa’s favourite vinyl records in a room set environment.

Despite the artist’s pioneering role in South African art, this marks Nhlengethwa’s first solo exhibition in London. Prior to this, a major survey of the artist’s work titled Life, Jazz and Lots of Other Things was hosted by SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia in 2014, touring SCAD and the Carter Center, Atlanta. Nhlengethwa’s work has also been seen in numerous Biennials from the 8th Havana Biennial to the 2013 Venice Biennale and more recently at the 2015 Beijing Biennial.  This exhibition creates the opportunity for London audiences to discover the work of this influential artist.

Over the course of his career, Nhlengethwa has developed a distinctive collage and painting practice while exploring themes common to everyday life in South Africa, the street life, domestic interiors to the influence of mining. Intrinsic to this practice is Nhlengethwa’s love of jazz.

From the age of 15, Nhlengethwa was exposed to the genre through his two older brothers who listened to everything from the classic standards of artists such as Miles Davis and Dave Brubek to the more experimental sounds of Sun Ra, Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingues.

“My life belongs to the jazz world because I don’t spend a day in my studio without listening to jazz in the background,” says Nhlengethwa. With a collection of over 4,000 vinyl, Nhlengethwa views his records as “art material”, likening the experience of listening while working to a dialogue. “I don’t think I could be who I am, what I’m doing in the art world if there was no jazz. It is my daily inspiration.”


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