Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary African Art Sale 2018

Sotheby's Modern and Contemporary African Art Sale 2018

Sotheby’s second dedicated auction of modern and contemporary African art will take place in London on March 28, 2018, and will include a carefully selected collection of works by 62 artists featuring paintings, photographs, drawings and sculpture from the 20th and 21st centuries from 16 countries across Africa, with a strong focus on the postcolonial era.

According to Hannah O’Leary, Head of Modern and Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s, “The international spotlight on modern and contemporary African art is growing ever stronger as museums, critics and art fairs increasingly look to profile art from the region. Artists from the continent, who were previously overlooked by the secondary market, are finally starting to receive their due recognition. Sotheby’s first sale proved that if Modern and Contemporary African artists are given an international platform, demand from collectors is there. Participants came from nearly 30 different countries, with over half of the lots sold for prices above their high estimate. The next edition of the sale will place a closer focus on contemporary art with recent pieces by some of the most exciting artists working today, as well as offering pieces by modern masters who were pioneers of their time.”

Ibrahim Mahama, Chale Wote. Estimate: £60,000–90,000

Highlights of this year’s sale include Ibrahim Mahama’s Chale Wote (2014, est. £60,000-90,000); Ben Enwonwu’s Africa Dances (1962, est. £20,000-30,000); Nicholas Hlobo’s  Unxeme (2016, est. £40,000-60,000); Mohau Modisakeng’s imposing triptych Untitled (Qhatha series) (2010, est. £20,000- 30,000) —the first work by the artist to be auctioned outside South Africa; Athi-Patra Ruga’s intricate self-portrait in tapestry The Exile According to the Elder (2014, est. £20,000-30,000); and Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s À La Warhol (2006, est. £50,000-70,000), a self-portrait that references the silkscreen portraits of American artist Andy Warhol. With this work, the artist illustrates herself in a pensive, self-reflexive state, in stark contrast to Warhol’s way of seeing the women of America’s mass-media popular culture. Crosby’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions worldwide, including Tate Modern, London, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town, Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Other highlights include Culture Flower by the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE who saw a new auction record in Sotheby’s 2017 sale; a selection of works by the Cape Town-based Claudette Schreuders  whose sculptures are representative of the search for an ‘African’ identity in post-apartheid South Africa; photography and works of art by Cameroonian artist Pascale Marthine Tayou, the artist commissioned to create an installation for the Edmond J. Safra courtyard during the 2017 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House; and Swazi-born artist Nandipha Mntambo, who is currently the subjects of a solo exhibition at Zeitz MOCAA, including another cast of Sengifikile.

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