Siwa Mgoboza, Bitch, You Betta Werk, 2017.

Aspire Art Auctions Co-Curates Auction in Paris

Spotlighting Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa as excitement builds for dedicated auction in Paris.

Aspire Art Auctions presents a co-curated auction of Modern and Contemporary African Art in collaboration with French auction house Piasa, to take place in Paris on Wednesday, 24 June.

The debut of an African based auction house presenting a dedicated sale in Europe marks an industry first and confirms Aspire as the emerging global champion for African art at auction.

After the success of the Aspire X Piasa auction in Cape Town in February 2020, a follow-up sale in Paris has been planned with great anticipation. Showcasing an impressive collection of 173 artworks by 85 artists from 19 countries on the continent, the upcoming large scale auction underlines the vitality and quality of art produced in the various major centres of West, East and Southern Africa as well as the diaspora. By bringing together artworks from across geographic linesthe auction introduces some of the most sought-after African artists, whose work is increasingly subject to international demand.

Chéri Samba, J'aime la couleur, 2004.Chéri Samba, J’aime la couleur, 2004.

Significant highlights include the striking painting J’aime la couleur (2004) by Chéri Samba, which introduces the special selection dedicated to the early and current popular painters of the Congo with works by the legendary Chéri Chérin, Moké, and the younger JP Mika.

William Kentridge, Drawing from Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City after Paris (Soho Eating), 1989.William Kentridge, Drawing from Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City after Paris (Soho Eating), 1989.

Internationally renowned William Kentridge’s important 1989 drawing from Johannesburg, 2nd Greatest City after Paris (Soho Eating) is the featured cover work for the sale. Produced during a critical time in South Africa’s history as the country was on the cusp of radical political and social change, this drawing complements The Crossing (1987), one of Peter Clarke’s most powerful and politically charged works. This will be the first time that a work by this prominent South African artist comes to auction in mainland Europe.

Nicholas Hlobo, Umfanekiso, 2012.Nicholas Hlobo, Umfanekiso, 2012.

The sale boasts a remarkably strong contemporary offering of exceptional works by leading names Yinka Shonibare CBE (Britain-Nigeria), Nicholas Hlobo (South Africa), Pascale Marthine Tayou (Cameroon), Barthélémy Toguo (Cameroon), Omar Ba (Senegal), Mary Sibande (South Africa), Kendell Geers (South Africa) and Misheck Masamvu (Zimbabwe).

LEFT: Kudzanai Chiurai, Untitled VIII (Auto and the Workers Movement), 2018. RIGHT: Eddy Kamuanga, Untitled, 2018.LEFT: Kudzanai Chiurai, Untitled VIII (Auto and the Workers Movement), 2018. RIGHT: Eddy Kamuanga, Untitled, 2018.

Works by rising stars include Kudzanai Chiurai’s (Zimbabwe) mixed media work Untitled VIII (Auto and the Workers Movement), an impressive large scale painting by Eddy Kamuanga (DRC), two installation-based paintings by Simphiwe Ndzube (South Africa) and Peter Ngugi’s (Kenya) colourful rendering of contemporary pop-culture in Africa.

Siwa Mgoboza, Bitch, You Betta Werk, 2017.Siwa Mgoboza, Bitch, You Betta Werk, 2017.

LEFT: Sanaa Gateja, Twitter and the Ostrich, 2019. RIGHT: Dickens Otieno, Untitled, 2020.

LEFT: Sanaa Gateja, Twitter and the Ostrich, 2019. RIGHT: Dickens Otieno, Untitled, 2020.

Exciting mixed media works that will attract interest are a Sanaa Gateja (Uganda) paper tapestry titled Twitter and the Ostrich, (2019), Dickens Otieno’s (Kenya) intriguing untitled wall-hanging of woven metal strips and the first-ever appearance at auction of textile works by the young and upcoming Siwa Mgoboza (South Africa).

Also on auction for the first time are two works by British born Tomi Olopade and a large scale collage work by the American Yashua Klos, which both address issues of identity, race, memory and community.

LEFT: J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, Mkpuk Eba, 1974. RIGHT: Zanele Muholi, Sasa, Bleecker, New York, 2016. LEFT: J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, Mkpuk Eba, 1974. RIGHT: Zanele Muholi, Sasa, Bleecker, New York, 2016.
LEFT: Malick Sidibé, Avec mes verres fumés, 1963. RIGHT: Malick Sidibé, Dansez le twist, 1965. LEFT: Malick Sidibé, Avec mes verres fumés, 1963. RIGHT: Malick Sidibé, Dansez le twist, 1965.

The sale concludes with an impressive collection of photography, including portraits by the late J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere (Nigeria) and activist photographer Zanele Muholi (South Africa) as well as a series of Malick Sidibé’s iconic images of youth culture in the 1960s and 70s in Mali’s capital city, Bamako.

LEFT: Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Half Opened Eyes Twins, 1989. RIGHT: Mohau Modisakeng, Passage 8, 2017.LEFT: Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Half Opened Eyes Twins, 1989. RIGHT: Mohau Modisakeng, Passage 8, 2017.

Gelatin silver prints by Rotimi Fani-Kayode (Nigeria-Britain) and two images from Mohau Modisakeng’s (South African) Passage video, which was exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale, also feature.

David Goldblatt, A miner waits on the bank to go underground, City Deep Gold Mine, 1996 (2_3041)David Goldblatt, A miner waits on the bank to go underground, City Deep Gold Mine, 1996

Of major significance is a rare platinum print, seldom seen on the open market, by South Africa’s most lauded photographer David Goldblatt. The photograph A miner waits on the bank to go underground, City Deep Gold Mine, 1996 forms part of Goldblatt’s celebrated On the Mines series, a remarkable body of work which provides insights into the lives and difficult conditions of miners whose labour underwrote the South African economy and created extraordinary wealth. Two other highly sought-after photographs by Goldblatt are also on offer.

This partnership is another strategic move for Aspire to promote the international value of and appreciation for art and artists from Africa and South Africa in particular. Since 2016, Aspire has altered the local auction market. While the company has actively pioneered new sectors within contemporary art at auction, it was also the first to committedly promote undervalued 20th-century black artists and the first to present a genuinely pan-African offering of modern and contemporary art to a global audience. The dedicated auction in Paris marks an important moment in the history and development of this segment in the global art market.

A fully illustrated catalogue of all the artworks on offer is available at: www.aspireart.net

Click here to view the online catalogue.

Modern and Contemporary African Art, co-curated with Piasa, will be taking place at Piasa, 24 June at 6:00 pm.