Nico Phooko

Nico Phooko, South African artist, temps us with his visual mastery and command of a melody of sounds, witch colorfully leap's at us off the canvas. He exploits various mediums including collage, pigments, acrylics oils, inks, and found objects.

He was inspired as a teenager by the works of prominent South African artists of his home township of Kwa - Thema. He took to art not only as a hobby but a noble career to flourish and nourish and upon Sam Nhlengethwa's advice, he enrolled at the Bill Ainsle Found Private art College, the Johannesburg Art Foundation where he studied for Graphic Design basics and a three-year fine art Diploma course.

His works spring from his passion for music, the politics of challenging the lampooning of the power of ancestral feasts and authentic African traditional practices, the sensations of romantic engagements and the solace of domestic and social love, peace and harmony. "There are mysterious forces that prompt us all to found relief in art and music, the very powerful strength that accelerates the confidence of accepting that we are what we are because of the unrivaled establishments great and the ordinary people who saw the earth prior to our life form. The people whose strength of mind and legacy will always have a special place in our lives. In view of the fact that we are not the end of human evolution. We are for that reason indebted to pass on to future generations' sound aspirations of loving our immediate families, be in awe of our friends and value our neighbors and communities as a general rule".

His commitment for the sustenance of African values, music, ethics and re-induction of meaningful traditional ways of life is evident in his approach to technique, he sometimes collage found objects with rusted nails, cow dung, grass, Hessian and an assortment of natural pigments and tones .His use of fresh and rich colors sing a grasping and flexible piece of music that remind us of a time and space known but not to date.

At the dawn of the millennium, He took a break from established formulas of painting for Gallery exhibitions and took to the stage with his easel, brushes and paints, painting enthusiastically on stages with Blk Sonshine. A music duo he believes to be closely associated with his move towards expressing musical impressions. He painted the music as it played around him enticing the visual, auditory and acoustic appetites of the audience. This trend has since grown into one of the most-sort- after feature of prestigious events, covering such events as ‘A tribute to Samora Machel' a painting that ripened within hours and was presented to the former first elected Democratic South African President Mr. Nelson Mandela, His wife Graca and the Samora Machel's family. He also embraced and artistically graced the proceedings of ‘The Presidential Congratulatory Dinner for Women' and the African National Congress Women League presented the finished work to South Africa's President Mr Thabo Mbeki as a surprise souvenir.

"I have always held in high regard the idea of taking art to the people in ordinary, sophisticated and celebrated state of affairs. Seeing a piece of work unfolds in front of your eyes is as fulfilling as food to hunger, water to thirst and is as baffling and surprising to me as it is to the onlooker. Much as I enjoy listening, analyzing and learning from the others, I would like my works to articulate a language I would never converse in words"

He has since being commissioned for art related projects including cover art works for jazz, world and acoustic compact disc covers, illustrations, book covers, afro centric greeting cards and note-lets, hand painted and printed t- shirts, colorful book marks and a string of object d'art.


      1994: Jazz, Art and Poetry Recognition Award.  Kwa - Thema, Springs

  • - Vista University Cultural Day Exhibition with Lucky Moema. Daveyton
  • - Madi Phala's Emerging Artists Exhibition in the Yard. Kwa - Thema
  • - The Village Walk Visual Art and Performance Fair. Sandton Square
  • - Art now Gallery. Rosebank
  • - Watercolour Society. Parkview
  • - The African Affair - Group Exhibition. Sandton Square

      1995: Art in De Yard. Yeoville

  • - Windybrow Art Festival, with Hannah Cantassi and Asante.
  • - Eight self Commissioned Murals. Yeoville

1998: Heritage Day Ar6t and Craft Festival. Yeoville

1999: The Houston International Festival. Houston Texas (USA)

  • - New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. New Orleans (USA)

2000: Winnie Madikizela Mandela's 60th Birth Day. Pretoria

2001: Johannesburg Art Gallery. Group Exhibition. Gauteng

2002: Art in de Yard Stokvel: Judith's Paarl. Gauteng

2003: ITC indaba Expo: Sandton Convention Centre. Gauteng.

2005: Design Indaba Expo. Cape Town International Convention Centre. Cape Town

  • - Avulekile Community Art Workshop. Good hope Castle. Cape Town.
  • - Cape Town Art Galley. Group Exhibition. Cape Town.
  • - Ngoma Zaba Ngoma. Aalliance Francaise. CapeTown.
  • - 2006 Folate Irridisante, Group International Artists Exhibition. Italy
  • - 2007: Garribaldi. Group Exhibition, Travelling Europe Group Exhibition Starting in Italy.
  • - Ekasi Art and Jazz Group Exhibition. Kaw- Thema (Springs)
  • - 2008: Ekurhuleni Mayoral Awards, Group Exhibition. Kempton Park
  • - African Inspirations, Kingston Art Museum,New York.USA

Live on Stage Painting for Corporate Events and the people the paintings were presented to.:                                  

-     Attribute to Samora Machel, Gallagher Estates. Gauteng             - Nelson Mandela and Samora Machel's Family.

      -     Hansa Pilsner Cool Sounds Music Awards, Sandton - Gauteng      - South African Breweries CEO.

  • - Voice, (a Jazz Outfit) Compact Disc Launchm, Civic Theatre - Gauteng -Private Collection.
  • - Women International Forum, Sandton Convention Centre - Gauteng -W I F's President and Bridget Radebe.
  • - Dr Stanley Mogoba's 70th Birthday Celebration, Gallagher Estates - Gauteng - Dr Stanley Mogoba.
  • - Vth World Parks Congress - Official Heads of States Banquet, Durban The Mayor Dr Obed Mlaba.

-   ICT Empowerment Indaba. Sandton Convention Centre. Gauteng   - Mrs Phumzile Ncquka and Mrs Ivy Matsepe Cassaburi.

  • - A Tribute to E'skia Mphahlele. Vodacom Sun dome, Gauten - Private Collection.

-    Discovery Health Presentation Report. Atlas Bakery, Gauteng   - Director Mr John Roberts.

-   Presidential Congratulatory Dinner for Women 2004, Sandton       Convention Centre.     - Pres Thabo Mbeki.

  • - National Home Builders Awards 2004. Ghallagher Estates. Gauteng. - Mrs Delca Maluleka.
  • - The Design Indaba Expo Charity Banquet. Auctioned to raise Funds for Design Students.
  • - Mmatshilo Motsie's art in the yard and cultural exhibition. Pretoria, 2006
  • - Ekasi Jazz and Art Cultural Festival. Kwa- Thema, 2007
  • - Innovation Town I-Hero Awards Ceremony. Sci Bono,Market Theatre Precinct. Johannesburg. 2007


  • - Drum Café. Greenside - Gauteng
  • - The Rex Movie House. Norwood - Gauteng
  • - 206 Poetry Sessions. Orange Groove - Gauteng
  • - Oppikoppi Festival. Northam Karoo - Rustenberg
  • - Mega Music Warehouse. Newton - Gauteng
  • - Oppikoppi Festival. Pretoria
  • - The Bassline Jazz Pub. Melville - Gauteng
  • - Crazy Music Video
  • - BMG Records Launch. Gauteng
  • - Voice. Jazz Band. Civic Theatre. Gauteng.
  • - BlkSonshine. Armchair Theatre. Cape Town.
  • - Mikanic.The Post Box Theatre. Cape Town.
  • - Rafikis. Tamboerskoof. Cape Town.


  • - Iyavaya African Cuisine Restaurant. Rosebank - Gauteng
  • - Tandoor Reggae and Dance Hall Club. Yeoville
  • - Da Joint Club and Restuant. Yeoville
  • - Jungle Connection. Ellis Park
  • - Naledi Nursery. Soweto
  • - Ekasi Sports Joint. Kwa-Thema


  • - Cisco Systems: International Conference Invitations.
  • - MTN: Phone Cards Front Cover Art Work.
  • - IDC Seasons Greetings Cards.
  • - SACOD: Hand Painted Forum T-Shirts. Maputo and Namibia
  • - Hugh Masekela: Original Art Works and Hand Painted T-Shirts
  • - 2000 Aids Conference Calendar and Screensaver Art Works. New York
  • - Department of Education: Children's Book Cover Art Works
  • - Sheer Sounds Records: Compact Disc Cover Art Works
  • - BLK Sonshine: Debut Album Cover Art Work
  • - Heinemann Publishers: Mamela Afrika Series Book Cover Art Works
  • - DreamCatcher Multi-Media and EMI Records:

     -      Mzwakhe Mbuli's Release and Mbulism Compact Disc Launch's Hand painted T- Shirts. Mega Music. Gauteng.

  • - Joe Nina's Productions (Kisanji): The Trio's Launch Invitations and Hand Painted T- Shirts. Gauteng
  • - Joe Nina's Nostalgia Compact Disc Sleeve Design.

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