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Roos, Nicola

Nicola Roos

Roos works in life-size figurative sculptural installations constructed out of recycled rubber tyre tubing. She investigates the origins of civilization and society, as well as the ever-changing politics of national identity, collective memory and cultural belonging in the postcolonial world.

The point of reference for her 2015 debut installation, No Man’s Land, was the only black Samurai in recorded history: a Mozambican slave named Yasuke, who was taken from his homeland to serve under an influential shogun in 16t h century Japan. His legacy of cross-cultural exchange shifted the focus to this new world state of ethnographic modernity and the transient fixity of culture and tradition. Roos’s interest in colonial history and
the commemoration of abstruse individuals was sparked by Yasuke and the myriad of socio-cultural implications that ripple outwards from this remarkable man in Africa and abroad.

Her work suggests that this shifting state of culture (and the resulting sense of rootlessness) is much more apparent at the dawn of post-Westernism – a possibly threatening, unstable no man’s land that we find ourselves in today. However, her characters are no longer individuals, but rather elements of an imagined realm beyond official history. They are the embodiment of a local cultural breakdown and a communal future where beliefs, assumptions and knowledge about place and culture can be deconstructed and re-negotiated.

Roos has not exhibited in 2019 as she set aside the year for the preparation and creation of artworks for her upcoming Solo exhibition and for Art Fairs.

Academic Achievement

  • 2016 BA Fine Arts Graduate (Sculpture Major). Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT, South Africa.
    Co-awarded the Simon Gerson Prize for producing an exceptional body of work

Group Exhibitions

  • 2018 Defying the Narrative: Contemporary Art from Southern and West Africa , Evergold Projects, San
    Francisco, USA.
    Right at the Equator , Depart Foundation, Malibu Village, California, USA.
  • 2017 Recent Acquisitions , UNISA Art Gallery, Kgorong Building, Tshwane, South Africa
    Black and White , Absolut Art Gallery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
    Turbine Art Fair , Turbine Hall, Johannesburg, South Africa
    Cape Town Art Fair , Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa
  • 2016 Cape Town Art Fair , Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa
    On Photography, Painting, and Sculpture, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2015 Form and Substance, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town, South Africa


  • 2018 Vroue Aan Vergetelheid Ontruk (“Women Plucked from Oblivion”) , ‘Die Burger’, 12/ 01/ 2018
  • 2017 Nicola Roos and the Mexican Enigma, ’DANTE Mag’ YouTube, 22/ 08/ 2017
    Interview with Nicola Roos, ‘DANTE Mag’, June/ July edition
    Talking to… Nicola Roos , ‘CityLife’, April edition.
    Durbanville Artist Bags Prestigious Prize, ‘Northern News’, March edition
    The One and Only African Samurai, ‘DANTE Mag’ cover story, June/ July edition
  • 2016 A talent to watch… by Heidi Erdmann, February 2016


Grizelda Hall, Cape Town, South Africa (Private)
DaLima, Maputo, Mozambique (Private)
Arnold Lehman, New York, USA (Private)
UNISA, Tswane, South Africa (Public)
David Altman, California, USA (Private)
Sovereign Trust Group, Cape Town
Zoot Nel, Baltic Sea, Estonia (Private)
KT Wong Foundation, Cape Town
Ard Voorman, Rijn, The Netherlands (Private)

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