• A version of Yasuke, the African Samurai, in which he wears a kimono and hakama instead of traditional armour.

    About Nicola Roos

    Since discovering the medium in 2015, I have primarily been working in life-size figurative sculptural installations constructed out of recycled rubber tyre tubing. I investigate the origins of civilization and society, as well as the ever-changing politics of national identity, collective memory and cultural belonging in the postcolonial world.

    The point of reference for my 2015 debut installation, No Man’s Land, was the only black Samurai ever written into recorded history: a Mozambican slave, known only by the name of Yasuke, who was taken from his homeland and came to serve under an influential shogun in 16th century Japan. His legacy of cross-cultural exchange shifted the focus to this new world state of ethnographic modernity and the transient fixity of culture and tradition. My interest in colonial history and the commemoration of abstruse individuals was sparked by the little-known narrative of Yasuke and the myriad of socio-cultural implications that ripple outwards from this remarkable man in Africa and abroad.

    My work suggests that this shifting state of culture and a resulting sense of rootlessness is so much more apparent at the dawn of what Okwui Enwezor calls post-Westernism – a possibly threatening, unstable no man’s land that we find ourselves in today. However, my characters are no longer individuals, but rather elements of an imagined realm beyond official history. They are the embodiment of a local cultural breakdown and a communal future where beliefs, assumptions and knowledge about place and culture can be deconstructed and re-negotiated.

    Nicola Roos
    No Man's Land III
    Plaster of Paris, polyurethane foam, wood, nails, beads, used inner tyre tubes, cotton cloth, cotton cord.
    Approx. 1900 mm x 830 mm x 400 mm (excluding 800 mm x 800 mm x 200 mm base)
    KT Wong Foundation Collection, Cape Town, South Africa.

  • Nicola Roos's entire installation based on the parallel figures of Eva Krotoa and La Malinche, as presented for Roos's final examination at the Michaelis School of Fine Art.

    Recent Graduate

    I graduated at the top of my class from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, in May 2017.

    I achieved 95% for my final-year body of work, DIS(re)MEMBERINGS.
    I was also the recipient of the annually-awarded Michaelis Prize.

    Pictured (from left to right at back):
    La Virgen (The Saviour), La Llorona (The Lamenter), La Chingada (The Bitch) & La Malinche (The Outsider)
    Front: La Lengua (The Tongue)

  • In the Media

    International arts and culture publication, DANTE Mag, published a short video on YouTube where editor Massimo Gava and graphic designer Mark Beech discuss my work. The focus of this discussion falls on my DIS(re)MEMBERINGS series from 2016.

    This is in wake of an interview with me that was published in the printed edition of the magazine's June/July 2017 edition. The interview is a follow-up piece to an article about my No Man's Land sculptures, that was featured on the cover of the magazine in June/July 2016. Read the article here.

    View the video on the left.

  • As of September 2017, I am not available for any commissions.
    I have committed to a long-term project that will have my full attention until its completion.


Prints to Order


Select images from my No Man's Land (2015-), DIS(re)MEMBERINGS (2016-2017) and Pedestal (Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis/Thus always I bring death to tyrants) [2017] series are available to print.


International shipping options are available to any country worldwide. Shipping prices will be calculated and added to the selling price depending on the destination country.


High-resolution photographs of my sculptures by Leyla Heylen or Matthew Miller are available on mounted brushed aluminium or perspex in any size from A4 to A0. Printed upon request.


To order a print, please send an email to nicolaroos.studio@gmail.com with your contact information, preferred medium (brushed aluminium or perspex) and title of the sculpture that you would like a print of.
Please see the Works section below for sculpture titles.

  • An image of Yasuke/'No Man's Land V' (2017) printed on mounted brushed aluminium in A3 size. The print is held by the artist to indicate scale.

    For Sale

    This image of Yasuke as he was depicted in No Man's Land V (2017) is printed and mounted on an A3-size sheet of brushed aluminium for a sleek, semi-gloss metallic finish.

    The current price is 2,500 ZAR excluding shipping.
    To purchase, send an email to nicolaroos.studio@gmail.com.

  • An installation view of 'Obisidan Samurai I' and 'La Chingada (The Bitch)' flanking the entrance to the 'Right at the Equator' exhibition space in Malibu Village, California, USA.

    Depart Foundation

    Three of my sculptures, 'Obsidian Samurai I' [2017], 'La Chingada (The Bitch)' [2016] and 'El Mestizo (The Half-Blood)' [2017], are currently on display as part of a group exhibition facilitated by the Depart Foundation in Malibu, USA.

    The exhibition, entitled Right at the Equator, features the work of 22 emerging contemporary artists from Africa.

  • A pamphlet advertising the 'Right at the Equator' group exhibition in Malibu, USA. The pamphlet features text describing the content of this African art group exhibition on the left and an image of Nicola Roos' 'Obsidian Samurai I' on the right.

    Right at the Equator

    ‘Right at the Equator’ is curated by Valerie Kabov and Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie.

    The show is open through February 28:
    Tuesday - Friday: 12.00-18.00
    Weekends: 12.00 - 19.00

    To view more images from the opening night of this exhibition (via Depart Foundation's social media), click here.
    To read more about the exhibition, click here.

A trio of figurative sculptures of headless, armless, female torsos on the backs of chairs covered in strips of rubber and thousands of silver sewing pins.

Hominis Ruinis
(The Fall of Man)


A three-part series of human/chair hybrid sculptures commenting on the objectification of women in contemporary society.

Series sold.

A bronze cast of a chaotic cluster made up of various bananas and banana peels.

Banana Republic


A bronze cast symbolising the "unmonumental" in the form of a network of inter-dependent socio-economic relationships within a corrupt democracy.

Available/For sale.

A bronze cast constructed of a modified crocodile skeleton with two large fangs protruding from the back of the mouth and various other loose vertabrae and rib-bones lying in a heap of sparkling black ironsand.



A bronze-cast fantastical skeletal structure in black ironsand focusing on the duality of man as represented by the Serpent of Eden in the Christian Bible.

Available/For sale.

A collection of figurate sculptures showing Nicola Roos's interpretations of a black African samurai by the name of Yasuke in various different suits of armour.

No Man's Land I-IV


A collection of four life-size figurative sculptures based on Yasuke, the only known samurai of African descent in Feudal Japan, that investigates tenets of de-traditionalisation and a sense of ethnographic "rootlessness".

Series sold.

A detail shot of 'La Lengua (The Tongue)', a sculpture based on Krotoa (also known as Eva), seated and holding a Protea in the open hand that is resting on her right leg.



An installation exploring the parallel narratives of two indigenous women in the colonial era, La Malinche in Mexico and Krotoa-Eva in South Africa, and their effects on changing perceptions of femininity and socio-cultural belonging throughout the last five centuries.

Series sold.

An antique cradle covered in rubber, that serves as the companion sculpture to Nicola Roos's work 'La Llorona (The Lamenter)', which is based on a Mexican urban legend of a woman who drowns her own children.

The Distance Travelled
[Credit: Franci du Toit]


A series of furniture-based sculptures originally created to serve as companion pieces to the figures of DIS(re)MEMBERINGS. These sculptures explore the relationship between material possessions and collective memory, especially focusing on objects that function in a liminal expanse where cultures and traditions collide.

Series sold.

A headshot of Nicola Roos's fifth version of Yasuke, standing in his kimono and looking slightly towards the right while wearing his hair in long, loose dreadlocks.

No Man's Land V


A return to Yasuke; this time interrogating the notion of "diasporic indigeneity" in the wake of nation-wide demands of the decolonisation and "Africanisation" of existing knowledge bases in South Africa and the broader African continent.


A headshot of a figurative sculpture of Martín Cortés, showing a curly-haired boy with a traditional Medieval cap topped with an ostrich feather.

El Mestizo
(The Half-Blood)


A late addition to DIS(re)MEMBERINGS as the companion sculpture to La Chingada (The Bitch), referencing Martín Cortés, illegitimate son of La Malinche and Hernándo Cortés. Martín was also the first noble-born child of mixed ethnographic heritage in Mexico during the Spanish Conquest and is seen as the ancestor of the mestizo people.


A human/chair hybrid sculpture of a female torso, complete with arms and head, attached to the back rest of a chair, with human legs and bare feet replacing the chair's legs.

(Sic semper evello mortem tyrannis/Thus always I bring death to tyrants)


A re-visitation of the earlier 'Hominis Ruinis' series, exploring dichotomous notions of domesticity and the inherent power of the feminine despite perception of women as material posessions or household objects.

Available/For sale.

  • Arnold Lehman Private Collection

    New York, USA

  • David Altman Private Collection

    Los Angeles, USA

  • KT Wong Foundation Collection

    Cape Town, South Africa

  • Sovereign Trust Corporate Collection

    Cape Town, South Africa

  • Grizelda Hall Private Collection

    Cape Town, South Africa

  • University of South Africa (UNISA) Public Collection

    Tshwane, South Africa

  • DaLima Private Collection

    Maputo, Mozambique

  • Zoot Nel Private Collection

    Tallinn, Estonia

Get in touch!