Nicola Roos recently graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town with a sculpture major. Primarily working in life-size sculptural installations constructed out of recycled rubber gathered from inner tyre tubes, Roos investigates the origins of civilization and society, as well as the ever-changing politics of national identity and cultural belonging in the postcolonial world.
The point of reference for her debut installation, No Man’s Land (2015), is the only black Samurai ever written into recorded history: a 6-foot-tall Mozambican youth, Yasuke, who came to serve the great Japanese Shogun Oda Nobunaga from 1579-1582 AD. His legacy of cross-cultural exchange shifts the focus to this new world state of ethnographic modernity and the transient fixity of culture and tradition.
Her work suggests that this shifting state of culture is so much more apparent at the dawn of what Okwui Enwezor now calls post-Westernism – a possibly threatening, unstable no man’s land. However, Roos’s 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 collective future where beliefs, assumptions and knowledge about place and culture can be deconstructed and re-negotiated.
2017 Michaelis Graduate Exhibition, University of Cape Town, South Africa
2017 Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town International Convention Center, South Africa
2016 Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town International Convention Center, South Africa
2016 On Photography, Painting and Sculpture, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town
2015 Form and Substance, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town