Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

John-Michael Metelerkamp: IMMORTAL NEKKIES Series


John-Michael Metelerkamp: IMMORTAL NEKKIES Series, 2017-2018





John-Michael Metelerkamp was born in 1982 and is based in Knysna, South Africa. His practice of work deals with intriguing sensitivities about both reality and the subconscious, confronting trauma, anxiety, and awkwardness. The artist has said that his paintings serve as an honest expression of humanity’s shared human condition, where an attempt at confronting life – as well as seeing its humour– has been made.

Metelerkamp considers himself a student of painting and has never formally studied art. He enjoys experimenting and surprising himself. ‘If I knew what I was going to be painting a month from now I wouldn’t be happy,’ he says. John-Michael Metelerkamp only began painting five years ago. He recalls: ‘I have always been quite intimidated by painting, but I always wanted to paint. It all started with a push from my brother. He simplified it and said, ‘paint anything’, so I did. I can beat myself up sometimes for not having one style that signifies my work. But I am just doing what comes naturally to me.’(text Berman Contemporary)

This body of work, entitled Nekkies forms a substantial and coherent reflection – and perhaps more importantly – self-reflection on one individual’s examination of his own place and space in the world and his own relation to those around him.
This is difficult work and fraught with potential pitfalls and problematics but the artist is clear that these paintings need not be seen as representations of individuals that he observes any more than they can, and also indubitably are self-portraits.(quotes from article Andrew Lamprecht in ArtAfrica)