Exploring Nano Le Face and Terence Maluleke’s Artistry

Nano Le Face and Terence Maluleke, two rising stars in the contemporary art scene, are set to captivate art enthusiasts with their solo presentations at Southern Guild from 26 October to 16 November 2023.

Nano Le Face, hailing from Tshwane, and Terence Maluleke, a native of Johannesburg, share a penchant for figurative art that brings the world around them to life.

Drawing inspiration from non-traditional sources such as social media, animation, popular culture, and editorial photography, both artists offer a fresh perspective that challenges conventional artistic norms.

Nano Le Face: Capturing the Essence of Contemporary Youth Culture

Nano Le Face’s exhibition, “Honey, I’m Not Doing So Well,” immerses viewers in the multifaceted world of contemporary youth culture. Using coloured pencils and wax crayons on paper, Nano weaves together snapshot-like vignettes that encapsulate the lustre, aspirational hedonism, social media obsession, melodrama, and melancholy of today’s youth. His chosen medium, marked by its immediacy, provides a perfect canvas for an artist who is constantly seeking to create.

Exploring Nano Le Face and Terence Maluleke's Artistry

Nano’s creative process involves transforming discarded packaging, pages from old books and used envelopes into conceptual masterpieces. These artefacts become a conduit for his lived and virtual experiences, reflecting the social exchanges, overheard conversations, and consumed digital content that shapes his world.

Born in Tshwane in 1999, Nano’s journey into art began during the COVID-19 pandemic, following a period of studying film. Self-taught and driven by passion, he recently completed a two-month artist residency at GUILD Residency in Cape Town, which significantly influenced his latest series of drawings.

Nano’s art relies on a lexicon of popular iconography and text to convey sardonic narratives and visual insights. His scrawled witticisms and borrowed aphorisms from film, music, and literature invite viewers to contemplate the assimilated aspirations and existential hunger of his generation. Through his work, the audience gains access to moments of intimacy and confidential longing, reflecting the Americanized models of success, visibility, and beauty that dominate today’s virtual realm.

Exploring Nano Le Face and Terence Maluleke's Artistry

Nano’s portfolio features a sorority of female figures that span the spectrum from self-obsession to self-deprecation, from come-hither bravado to raw vulnerability. Many of these figures draw inspiration from women in the artist’s life, capturing the dichotomous reality of growing up in a world where social structures are in constant flux. Nano’s creative output mirrors the repetition found in consumerist culture and the ubiquity of content-producing influencers.

Terence Maluleke: Celebrating Community and Identity

Terence Maluleke’s exhibition, “Grace in Grand Bassam,” is a response to his month-long residency at La Fourchette de Rōze, a coastal town on the outskirts of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Despite language barriers and limited internet access, Maluleke found a strange sense of familiarity within the local community. His series of acrylic paintings focus on the human body, portraying angular contortions of dancing figures, soccer players in action, and individuals at rest, all set against the backdrop of this coastal paradise.

Exploring Nano Le Face and Terence Maluleke's Artistry

A recurring motif in Maluleke’s art is the humble plastic jelly sandal, known locally as “lêkê.” Regardless of age, gender, or social status, these sandals are a common sight and symbolize the democratizing effect they have on the community. Maluleke uses the sandal’s graphic shapes to emphasize its role in communal life, often incorporating them as a repeated motif. His work also occasionally disrupts the narrative with fragments of calla lilies and stars, adding depth and complexity to the scenes.

Terence Maluleke’s artistic journey began in the world of animation, where he honed his skills at studios like Walt Disney Animation Studios, Sony Pictures Animation, Netflix, and Triggerfish. Born in 1995 in Soweto, he draws inspiration from his upbringing in the township community, creating stylized portraits and still-lifes that explore contemporary Black experiences. In his art, he embraces the multiplicity of pan-African Black identities rather than focusing on individualistic portraiture.

Exploring Nano Le Face and Terence Maluleke's Artistry

Beyond his artwork, Maluleke co-founded Kasi Sketchbook, a non-profit initiative that offers drawing clubs to children and young adults in Johannesburg’s townships. His commitment to nurturing creativity in the community is a testament to his dedication as both an artist and a mentor. Working from his studio in August House in the inner city, Maluleke has exhibited at prominent art fairs and galleries, leaving an indelible mark on the contemporary art scene.

Conclusion

Nano Le Face and Terence Maluleke, though emerging artists offer unique and compelling visions that challenge the conventions of contemporary art. Nano’s exploration of youth culture and the ‘Instagram generation’ reflects the aspirations and complexities of today’s society, while Terence’s celebration of community and identity through acrylic paintings offers a powerful commentary on the human experience. Both artists are poised to make a lasting impact on the art world, pushing boundaries and redefining artistic norms in their distinctive ways.

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