Sam Nhlengethwa (b. 1955) is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Nhlengethwa has had many solo exhibitions at the Goodman Gallery, as well as several two-person shows. His work is represented in major public and corporate art collections in South Africa and abroad.
This lithographic print of John Coltrane was inspired by the jazz album Kind of Blue released in 1959. In a 2010 artist statement for his solo show of the same name at Goodman Gallery, Nhlengethwa wrote: ‘In my studio in downtown Johannesburg, a week never passes without me listening to Kind of Blue. I actually have three copies, two CDs – one for my car, the other for my studio and a vinyl for my collection.’
Once seen as one of South Africa’s leading resistance artists, Nhlengethwa has grown and adjusted the style and content of his works to explore other themes such as music, specifically jazz, and the mechanics of everyday living. This is a one run hand-printed lithograph, drawn by Sam Nhlengethwa using india ink and litho pencils and made in collaboration with Mark Attwood, and printed by The Artists’ Press.
Born in Springs, South Africa in 1955. Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. 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 visualize 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 emphasizes 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.”