A B O U T

LIONEL SMIT

Lionel Smit was born in Pretoria, South Africa in 1982. He is renowned for his monumental portraiture works on canvas in paintings, sculpture, silkscreen, video and public installations.

Since his first solo exhibition in 2009, Smit’s work has been exhibited locally and internationally in prestigious galleries and art fairs. His work is currently showcased in a solo exhibition at the Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki; a public sculpture of his is currently featured in Union Square, New York City.

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. It was also the ‘face’ of all advertising campaigns for this exhibition. He has been a featured artist at the Miami Art Fair 2014 and on the cover of Christie’s catalogue in London 2009.

Recent exhibitions include Echo, with Cynthia Reeves Gallery on the campus of MASS MOCA in North Adams, Massachusetts and New Release, a solo exhibition with Everard Read in Johannesburg.

Smit was also featured at the Cape Town Art Fair in conjunction with Everard Read. Other exhibitions include Trace – a solo exhibition with Rook & Raven New York and Obscura 2 – a solo exhibition with Rook & Raven London.

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.

Today Smit is based in Strand, Cape Town. His process as an artist today remains adaptive, inventive, and physically engaging.

He supports several charities on a regular basis with donations of artworks for auction, including ArtAngels, Wild Aid and the MAD Charity.

Selected exhibitions

2017
Art Central, featured artist, M. Contemporary, Hong Kong
Faces of Identity, solo exhibition, Everard Read, London
Premise, solo exhibition, Circa, Cape Town

2016
Faces, solo exhibition, Didrichsen Art Museum, Helsinki
New Release, solo exhibition, Everard Read, Johannesburg
Morphous, public installation, Union Square, New York
Cape Town Art Fair, featured artist, Everard Read, Cape Town
Trace, solo exhibition, Rook & Raven, New York
Obscura 2, solo exhibition, Rook & Raven, London
Echo, solo exhibition, Cynthia Reeves Gallery, Massachusetts

2015
Recurrence solo exhibition, .M Contemporary, Sydney
JHB Art Fair, featured artist, Everard Read, Johannesburg
Close / Perspective solo exhibition, Everard Read, Johannesburg
Origins, solo exhibition, Rook & Raven, London
Obscura, solo exhibition, Everard Read, Cape Town
Art Central Art Fair, featured artist, Rook & Raven Gallery, Hong Kong
Accumulation of Disorder, installation, Independent Art Projects, MASS MoCA Campus, USA

2014
Art Taipei, The Cat Street Gallery, Taiwan
Contronym, solo exhibition, The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
Morphous, solo exhibition and installation, Circa, Johannesburg
Cumulus, solo exhibition, Rook & Raven, London
Fugitive Identity, group exhibition, Cynthia Reeves, USA

2013
Art Miami Fair, featured artist, Cynthia Reeves, Miami
IS Sculpture, solo exhibition, IsArt, Tokara, Stellenbosch
Strarta Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, Rook & Raven, London
Fragmented, solo exhibition, Rook & Raven, London
Accumulation, solo exhibition, Everard Read, Johannesburg
BP Portrait Award Exhibition, Viewer’s Choice Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
Wonder Works Exhibition, The Cat Street Gallery, Hong Kong
Metal Work Public sculpture, Stellenbosch

2012
Compendium, solo exhibition, 34FineArt, Cape Town
Accumulation of Disorder, installation, University of Stellenbosch Gallery, Stellenbosch
Strata, solo exhibition, Rook and Raven, London
Robert Bowman Gallery, India Art Fair, India
Jhb Art Fair, Everard Read

2011
Surface, solo exhibition, Artspace, Johannesburg
34FineArt, ArtMonaco ‘11, Monaco

2010
Out of the Office, group exhibition, Kunstmuseum Bochum, Germany
Cynthia Reeves Projects, Art Miami, USA
We are not Witches, Saatchi Gallery, London
Submerge, solo exhibition, 34FineArt, Cape Town

2009
F.A.C.E.T., Charity Auction, Christie’s, London
Relate, solo exhibition, Grande Provence, Franschhoek

Qualifications and awards:
2013 Visitor’s Choice Award, BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
2013 Ministerial Award from Department of Culture for Visual Art, Western Cape Government
2009 Merit Award, Vuleka, Sanlam Art Competition, Cape Town
2008 Achievement Award, Pro Arte School of Arts
2000 First prize in the MTN Art Colours Awards of Gauteng
1999/2000 Best painting student Pro Arte School of Arts

Catalogues:
Cumulus LIONEL SMIT, Rook & Raven, London 2014
Formulation LIONEL SMIT, Tokara, Stellenbosch 2013
Accumulation LIONEL SMIT, Everard Read, Johannesburg 2013
Strata LIONEL SMIT, Rook & Raven, London, 2012
Surface LIONEL SMIT, Artspace, Johannesburg 2011
We are not Witches, Saatchi Gallery, London 2011
Submerge LIONEL SMIT, 34FineArt, October 2010
Christie’s, F.A.C.E.T (catalogue cover), October 2009
Residue, Grande Provence Gallery, October 2009
Group therapy, Sandton Civic Gallery, 2005
Pretoria, Everard Read Gallery, November 2004

Selected collections:
Ellerman Contemporary
Standard Chartered Bank
Laurence Graff
Rand Merchant Bank
European Investment Bank
Johannesburg City Council
Saronsberg Wine Estate
Grainvest Futures
Delaire Graff Wine Estate
South African Embassy, Nigeria
Parkdev
Johann Jacobs Museum