“Jean-David Nkot is above all, at least for the moment, a painter. His work, even when it contains elements of abstraction, is essentially figurative, obsessed with the body and its representation. The black body, is it necessary to specify it. Or perhaps, after all, it is necessary to present it, because in this detail perhaps nestles a hidden truth: Nkot, since his first paintings, paints and depicts himself”. – Excerpt from the exhibition text by Simon Njami
Cameroonian-artist Jean David Nkot's first solo exhibition in South Africa, Corps de P@ges, at The Melrose Gallery explores the plight of people in the Global South.
Jean David Nkot was born in Cameroon and he still lives and works in Doula. He began his art career by teaching himself to make copies of pieces he liked in his notebook. In 2006, he joined the Institute of Artistic Training of Mbalmayo, and it was there that he learned the painting techniques he uses today.
Nkot mixes acrylic, Indian ink, graphics and serigraphy in the creation of his paintings, which are packed with volume. His pieces focus on the human condition, society and the people around him in the hope that his work enables us to question the times in which we live. The pieces on show at The Melrose Gallery are incredibly grand in scale and need to be seen in person.
Nkot's work looks at the exploitation of people in the developing world and how the human body, and the world around us, have become victims to the relentless pursuit of wealth and power. At times the paintings lean towards abstraction but the figure remains central in all of his works. In particular, he chooses to focus on the Black body and presents these everyday people as icons. By doing so he makes a call to reconsider their status and places them as central figures to our present society and its futures.
You can view the exhibition at The Melrose Gallery and online at their viewing room.