University of Michigan Museum of Art
Ann Arbor, MI
Sam Nhlengethwa (born 1955), a prolific artist based in Johannesburg, South Africa, has worked in a range of media, exploring multiple themes: living under apartheid, jazz icons, community life in South Africa’s townships, and miners.
The prints in Nhlengethwa’s Tribute Series pay homage to several visual artists and contemporaries, who have contributed to South African art over the last century. These include South African artists such as David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, and Gerard Sekoto, and international artists Romare Bearden, Henri Matisse, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. By recognizing their impact on his own work, Nhlengethwa highlights an exchange of creative ideas within and across borders that moves beyond the oft-stated one-way influence of African art on avant-garde Western artists. His Tribute Series confirms that African artists, far from working in isolation, are active participants in the global art conversation.
This installation presents two works from Nhlengethwa’s Tribute Series recently acquired by UMMA.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website