Nano Le Face is an emerging contemporary artist currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. Born in 1999 in Tshwane under the given name Ntwanano Kutlo Shilubana, Nano works primarily in pencil, wax crayon and marker on paper. He studied Film Arts at the Open Window Institute in Pretoria and at AFDA in Johannesburg before choosing to pursue fine art.
Nano’s work borrows freely from popular culture, fashion photography, social media trends and ads for luxury brands. His figurative works, reduced to flattened line and saccharine colour, present a sardonic reading of contemporary youth culture. Drawn to the immediacy of the medium, Nano works primarily on paper and found materials. With restricted access to bought media at the start of the 2019 COVID pandemic, he began to work on found paper, utilising discarded packaging, the pages of old novels and used notepads. His engagement with online content, old women’s magazines and iconic film and literature has informed a distinctive use of text. Lifted phrases and aphorisms are reappropriated to become a mechanism for storytelling and barbed social comment.
Each of the artist’s stand-alone works are signed with the initial ‘RM.’ The inscription is an adaptation of the common trademark ‘TM’, making intentional slight of copyright in an age of boundless digital access. The initialism simultaneously references Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain. The seminal 1917 work – a found porcelain urinal – was signed under the pseudonym ‘R. Mutt’.
Nano Le Face spent a two-month period as an artist-in-residence at the GUILD Residency in Cape Town in 2023. The residency prompted a notable upscaling in his works, largely informing his first solo presentation with Southern Guild, Honey, I’m Not Doing So Well, which opened in October, 2023. His work has appeared in numerous local exhibitions and fairs, including Turbine Art Fair and RMB Latitudes Art Fair.