Profile // Contemporary South African Artist Lionel Smit

Artist Lionel Smit was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1982. He creates monumental portraiture works on canvas, sculpture, silkscreen, video and public installations. Smit’s work has been exhibited locally in his home town and internationally in prestigious galleries, art fairs and public spaces.

Smit’s painting, Kholiswa, received the Viewer’s Choice Award as part of the BP Portrait Award 2013 at the National Portrait Gallery in London. He has also been a featured artist at the Miami Art Fair 2014 and on the cover of the Christie’s catalogue in London 2009.


Position, Oil on Linen, 230 x 170cm, 2017. A piece for Smit’s exhibition ‘State’ in Johannnesburg this August 2017

Recent exhibitions include Faces of Identity, a solo exhibition with Everard Read in London and Premise, a solo exhibition with Everard Read in Cape Town. His current show ‘State’ opened this August in Johannesburg.

In recent years, he has been honoured with a Ministerial Award from the South African Department of Culture for Visual Art. 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.

Painted sculptures above, ‘Divert Head Fragment’ resin & fibreglass hand finished with automotive paint

Above and below, pieces from Smit’s exhibition ‘Premise’ from Circa in Cape Town in March 2017

Above, Smit working on his sculptures in his studio in Cape Town

Below, an oversize sculpture from 2014 created for Smit’s exhibition at Circa Gallery in Cape Town

Lionel Smit’s next solo exhibition  Emergeis to be held in Sydney, Australia at M.Contemporary Gallery.

Copies of the artists catalogues and prints can be purchased here.

Images c/o Lionel Smit

Nicky’s World August 2017



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