Lionel Smit

Lionel Smit is a renowned contemporary South African artist known for his expressive portraiture in monumental paintings and sculpture but he is equally adept at drawing, silkscreen and etching. He is based in Cape Town.

Lionel was born in 1982 in Tshwane(Pretoria), South Africa. From an early age, he was inspired by the creativity of his father, the well-known sculptor Anton Smit. Entering his teens, he was already taking his artistic future seriously and graduated as the Best Painting Student in his Class at Pretoria’s Pro Arte School of Arts.

His work is gestural yet aesthetically peaceful. For Lionel, the face is a vessel from which he explores his creativity; technique; colour and mark-making. His two-dimensional work has layers of broad strokes which form the background from which the face rises. His models are usually young women from the Cape-Malay community whose genetics and culture are a hybrid of the people in the Western Cape (South Africa) – of Dutch and Southern Asian descent. The works have been described as reflecting, “the disintegrating construction of identity within our increasingly globalised world.”

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