Aime Mpane (Democratic Republic of Congo, born 1968), Ikono- Jeremie each 32 x 31 x 3cm (12 5/8 x 12 3/16 x 1 3/16in) (12). Estimate: £25,000 – 35,000/US$ 38,000 – 53,000. Image courtesy of Bonhams
LONDON- Works by Africa’s major contemporary African artists will feature prominently at Bonhams Africa Now – Contemporary Africa auction. To be held on October 15, 2015 in London, this is the first sale by any international auctioneer to be held in London that is solely focused on the new and vibrant contemporary African art market. Some of the artists slated for the Contemporary Africa Art sale include El Anatsui, Chéri Samba, Maïmouna Guerresi, Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba, Juliet Ezenwa Maja-Pearce, Peju Alatise and Barthélémy Toguo.
Bonhams Contemporary Africa Art auction is the continuation of the auction house initiative that started early in the year with Africa Now – Modern Africa auction. The focus on Contemporary African Art, Bonhams notes reflects the growing awareness and demand for contemporary African art in the global art market. The auction house notes:
Awareness of Contemporary African Art has grown faster in recent years than in any other field, and the auction house is expecting strong interest in the sale. Bonhams already holds many world records at auction for works by Contemporary African artists.
Strategically initiated to coincide with the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House and also the Frieze Art Fair, there is great excitement that the Contemporary Africa Art sale will help solidify the place of African artists in the global art market.
Commenting on the sale, Giles Peppiatt, Bonhams Director of Contemporary African Art, said, ‘Contemporary African painting and sculpture is currently among the most exciting and dynamic areas of world art and artists such as El Anatsui and Cheri Samba are internationally renowned.’
Highlighting the Contemporary Africa Art auction is Al Haji by Ghana-born, Nigeria-based artist El Anatsui. Estimated at £100,000-150,000, the two wooden sculptures is expected to accentuate the record auction prices that works by African artists are making in the global art market.
El Anatsui who has long been regarded as the leading contemporary artist in Africa will also be represented by The Pilgrims. Estimated at (£30,000-50,000), the piece is expected to make record prices. The brilliance of the sculpture and the recognition of the artist whose works are in museums and major collections across the globe is expected to be key elements. From his major exhibitions at the 2007 Venice Biennale, to New York’s Brooklyn Museum and the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2013, El Anatsui is no doubt one of the most celebrated contemporary Africa artists.
Chéri Samba (b 1958) will be represented at the Contemporary African Art sale by J’aime la couleur. Estimated at £25,000-30,000, this is a perfect example of works by this artist who was inspired by the billboards around his adopted city of Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Samba, a former sign-painter for an advertising agency incorporates advertising techniques to achieve works that are uniquely his own. His large-scale vivid paintings can be easily seen from a distance.
Mohamed and Daughters, a print triptych by Maïmouna Guerresi, is one of the works that show cross cultural influences. Estimated at £12,000-18,000, Mohamed and Daughters indicate the profound transformation of this Italian feminist artist, who in 1991 found artistic inspiration in the mystical tradition of West African Islam, after her marriage to a member of the Senegalese Murid community.
WeaponThrone by sculptor Gonçalo Mabunda (b 1975), reflects the impact of war on a child’s psyche. The Mozambican sculptor was scarred by the country’s civil war. Made from decommissioned weapons, the sculpture estimated at £7,000-10,000, echoes the dangers of war to families and children.
Works by Cameroon-born Barthélémy Toguo will also feature prominently at the Contemporary Africa Art sale. One of the works by Toguo who trained in Côte d’Ivoire before studying in France and Germany is You Are Not Supposed to Park Here. Estimated at £10,000-15,000, the watercolour painting follows in Toguo’s artistic tradition often informed by the global flow of people and capital.
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