How artist Amanda's design featured at Nelson Mandela's 70th birthday rock concert

Amanda Rosevare with one of her paintings
Amanda Rosevare with one of her paintings

African-born print maker and artist Amanda Roseveare’s work celebrates some of the greats from the Jazz and Blues movements, and once featured in the backdrop at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Rock Concert at Wembley Stadium.

Now her latest collection of work is on display in the first floor exhibition space at Pocklington Arts Centre until Friday May 31.

Amanda was born in Lagos, Nigeria where she grew up with parents who were big jazz fans, so it is no surprise that her work has been heavily inspired by this genre.

Amanda, who now lives in Nunburnholme, near Pocklington said: “My father was an accomplished Jazz pianist and in his spare time he always sought out other musicians to ‘jam’ with. I remember many late night Jazz ‘sessions’ as a kid.”

Amanda lived in West Africa until the early 1970s, when she returned to England as a teenager, before later returning to the continent where she lived in a number of different African countries.

“These memories and experiences play a large part in inspiring my art,” she said.

“I produce vibrant expressive paintings with a broad range of subject matter. I might take inspiration from current world affairs or contemporary culture or memories and infuse my images with the colour, energy and visual vocabulary of Africa.

“When I lived in Mozambique, many of the artists and musicians who had been in exile during the civil war had started to return, injecting new life and excitement.

“Maputo night life was great with its pavement restaurants, Marabenta and Afro-jazz clubs. It was easy to meet and mix with other artists and this atmosphere fed into my work.

“I started producing large colourful canvasses and mono-prints, exhibiting and selling through local pop-up galleries. It rekindled my interest in jazz.”

That love of Jazz is evident in the eye-catching canvasses and lino-prints that are currently on display in the centre's first floor exhibition space.

Amanda said: “I’m also inspired by young jazz artists of today. There is a big revival of Jazz/Nu Jazz coming out of LA, London, and New York that has a young audience.

“It blends musical styles such as funk, soul, electronic, and free improvisation and I’m excited by that.

“I’m enjoying discovering artists like Kamasi Washington, Ravi Coltrane, Thundercat, Christian Scott as well as listening to Afro Jazz and Afro Beat.”

Amanda studied graphic design in Newcastle, where her love of printmaking developed, and went on to specialise in screen-printing and illustration.

On leaving college she worked in a variety of jobs including producing handmade ceramic floor tiles and building mosaic wall murals on a building site; designing and building theatre sets for friends; producing illustrations for publications; and an ‘artist in school’ residency, in a local gallery.

In 1984, Amanda began to design and print a series of African inspired art on T-shirts and cloth, ideas that grew into KWATZ T-shirts, which is still running today.

"I produced many T-shirt designs which were often adapted for other uses – mugs, wrapping paper, tea-towels, emblems – one design was used as a stage backdrop at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Rock Concert at Wembley Stadium, London, 1988.”

Entry to Amanda Roseveare’s exhibition is free, during opening hours only.

“I hope that people will enjoy the colours and lively subject matter of the work on show. For me PAC’s first floor exhibition space is the ideal setting for my paintings and prints, I think they create the right ambience,” she added.