Ukuthemba thanks Lionel for his magnificent contribution to Ukuthemba!
Lionel Smit was born in South Africa and is best known for his contemporary portraiture executed through monumental canvases and sculptures. Lionel Smit’s art is defined by a deeply rooted symbiotic relationship between sculpture and painting.
Each of Lionel works offers us an entry point into the variety and richness that lies beneath every face we encounter in life, whether applied in bronze or in paint.
His paintings start with abstract lines and swaths of colour that establish a base for the subsequently overlaid image of a face or bust – in most cases posed by anonymous models from the Cape Malay community. For Smit, the Cape Malay woman epitomises hybrid identity within a South African context, and reflects the disintegrating construction of identity within our increasingly globalised world.
The people he paints or sculpts possess a particular quality that appeals to his visual sensitivity,
Smit’s figures remain highly charged with the emotive and gestural energy of his creative process.
Through this he has achieved success all over the world including sell-out exhibitions in London and Hong Kong. His work continues to inspire and captivate the minds of art novices and experts alike from Europe to America.
Smit’s painting has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London where it received the Viewer’s Choice Award, as well as selected as the ‘face’ of the BP Portrait Award 2013 for all campaigns.
A highlight of his career has been the publication of one of his paintings on the cover of Christie’s Auction Catalogue.
Over the past 10 years he has established a substantial international following with collectors ranging from the Standard Chartered Bank to Laurence Graff Art Collection at Delaire Graff Wine Estate.
Www.lionelsmit.com for further information or to contact the artist.