Thato Nkosi is the sole self-taught artist on the Emerging Painter’s Show. In his hometown of KwaThema, East of Johannesburg, Nkosi’s artistic practice in painting and sculpture engages with his work in automotive design and engineering. The relationship between visual art and the design of machinery is evident in his futuristic interpretations of legendary African figures. The regalia and fleshly features of the figures shift between the mechanical and the organic. Through softly-rendered monochromes and hyper-fine, detailed line-making on roughly-hewn canvas and board, the works offer a modernist aesthetic: their shimmering sense of effusiveness is met with a critical restraint in asserting the two-dimensionality of the painted surface. Referencing the composition of traditional Western portraiture, Nkosi translates the power vested in this historical convention to the possibility of newly-minted understandings of African kings, queens, and iconic leaders. The paintings offer a marked sense of presence through these creative portrayals. As the artist says, ‘I want to show that the greatest innovation in the history of humankind was neither the stone tool, nor the steel sword, but the invention of symbolic expression by the artist.’ Thato Nkosi was born in 1981. He has exhibited in group exhibitions on the East Rand and in Johannesburg. This is the first major introduction of his work to the contemporary painting scene.