Nelson Makamo Transforms Porsche 911 Carrera Into His Latest Masterpiece

World-renowned South African visual artist Nelson Makamo recently took delivery of his unique Porsche 911 Carrera Coupé. Makamo, whose work has featured on the cover of TIME Magazine under the banner, ‘The art of optimism – 34 people who are changing how we see the world’ and who has sold artworks to various international celebrities and collectors, chose his new Porsche 911 as one of his latest and arguably most personal canvases.

Since 1963, Porsche’s rear-engine sports car has remained the brand’s iconic model, evolving over eight generations, from only one body type to a variety of different models, including the revered Turbo, as well as the unsurpassed GT models. Today, the 911 range offers a selection of models to thrill any passionate driver and evoke joy and respect in motoring enthusiasts around the world. After being captivated by the iconic rear-engine sports car whilst growing up in rural Modimolle, Limpopo in the 1980s, Makamo dreamed that he would hold the keys to his own Porsche 911 one day. That day arrived after a chance encounter with a modern version of a Porsche 911 during a residency in Franschhoek, Western Cape reminded him of his childhood dream. Makamo ordered a Jet Black Metallic 911 Carrera Coupé and set about personalising his car into a moving canvas.

At his Johannesburg studio, Makamo hand-painted selected components and panels of the car, before returning them to Porsche Centre Johannesburg for final lacquer coating and fitting. These elements included the rear bumper, front seat mouldings, door panel inserts and handles, dash panel inserts, park brake console and side mirror covers. The left side door panel insert bears a personal inscription ‘Mma’. These three letters mean ‘Mother’ in Makamo’s home language of Sepedi. This is the first time he has mentioned his Mother on an artwork. With this subtle, yet deeply meaningful acknowledgement, Makamo pays tribute to his mother who supported him throughout his life, inspiring him to believe that success through art is possible.

Makamo says the project, titled ‘My Life in Motion,’ is not just a representation of his success, but also of various people he has encountered throughout his life: ‘I always knew I was going to own a Porsche, I just never knew that my relationship with the brand would start this way – and it’s only the beginning.’

Toby Venter, CEO of Porsche South Africa, says the project has provided great motivation: ‘Working with Nelson Makamo has been inspirational and this commission is on a level we’ve never seen before. This is a truly bespoke art installation worthy of any gallery. In addition, it illustrates the lengths Porsche South Africa will go to; the creativity and flexibility of our team to accommodate a request as personal as this. Porsche customers have a virtually endless array of options available through Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur to make their Porsche completely individual, but then when a unique customer such as Nelson chooses to do something extraordinary, we are delighted to accommodate his wishes.’

Makamo wants his 911 to spark the imagination of the African child, to help each young girl and boy see that it is possible to find success through their own passion based on talent, resilience, hard work and unwavering support from their family.