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The Modern & Contemporary African and Middle Eastern Art Auction includes works by artists from Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Sudan, South Africa and Egypt. Many works are fresh to the market with numerous pieces celebrating cultural heritage as well as exploring identity and post-colonialisation. Estimates range from £200 – £20,000.

Robino Ntila (Tanzanian 1953-2020), Hugging. Acrylic on canvas, signed and dated in English R. NTILA / 13 lower right; signed, titled, inscribed and dated in English on the reverse, 100 x 80cm. Courtesy of Olympia Auctions.

Among the Tanzanian pictures, is a vibrant abstract acrylic on canvas, titled ‘Hugging’, by Robino Ntila (1953-2020) estimate: £700 – £900. Born in the town of Ndanda in the Mtwara Region of southern Tanzania, Ntila came to Dar es Salaam in the 1970s. He was a veteran of the Nyumba ya Sanaa (House of Art) Artists Association. Whilst there, he learned print making, painting, and other techniques such as batik and woodcuts. He is considered one of the preeminent artists in these fields in eastern and southern Africa.

Frédéric Bruly Bouabré (1923 – 2014) was an Ivorian designer and poet born in Zéprégühé in the Daloa region. His powerful work ‘Connaissance du Monde’, in crayon and pen on card is estimated at £3,000 – £5,000 in the forthcoming auction. On March 11th, 1948, Bruly Bouabré had a vision that he was to become Sheikh Nadro: the one who does not forget. As a result of this he was inspired to create the Bété alphabet, a syllabary composed of 448 signs, for his local tribe, in order to transcribe and preserve their history. He recorded local folklore, religion, culture and philosophy. The artworks manifest as brightly coloured pictograms, drawn onto reclaimed cardboard, with pen and coloured pencil, each with captions. The Connaisance du Monde (Knowledge of the World) series is Bruly Bouabré’s play on an Encyclopaedia, commenting on themes such as colonialism and modern-day society.

Peter Clarke (1929-2014), another artist whose work is featured in the auction, was born in Simon’s Town, in the Western Cape. He studied etching at the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 1961, as a short-term student under a special permit. As a ‘coloured’ student he was not permitted under apartheid regulations to study full-time at a ‘white’ institution. He also studied at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam in 1962/3 and participated in a course on printmaking in Oslo, in 1978.

In 1967, during the apartheid era, Clarke and his family were forcibly moved under the Group Areas Act of 1950 and relocated to the bleak new, ironically named township of Ocean View, where for more than 20 years he ran an art workshop for underprivileged children. In 2013 a major retrospective of Clarke’s work was presented by the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg and the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, accompanied by the comprehensive publication on his life and work, Listening to Distant Thunder: The Art of Peter Clarke, by Phillipa Hobbs and Elizabeth Rankin (2011). His work ‘Tranquil Sea’ in brush and ink and watercolour is estimated £2,000 – £4,000.

Youssed Kamel (Egyptian 1890-1971), A Shepherd (Portrait of a Man Sitting Under a Tree). Oil on panel, 121 x 97cm, 134 x 110cm (framed). Courtesy of Olympia Auctions.

Other highlights from the auction of 89 lots, include works by Lovemore Kambudzi (Zimbabwean b.1978), Ablade Glover (Ghanaian b.1934), Hendrick Lilanga (Tanzanian b. 1974), George Lilanga (Tanzanian 1934-2005), Johannes Meintjes (South African 1923-1980), Maggie Laubser (South African 1886-1973), Alexander Rose-Innes (South African 1915-1996), Hosni El Banani (Egyptian 1912-1989), Hamed Abdalla (Egyptian 1917-1985), Hussein Mohamed Youssef (Egyptian 1910-1975), Seif Wanly (Egyptian 1906-1979), Ragheb Ayad (Egyptian 1892-1982), Youssef Kamel (Egyptian 1890-1971), and Emna Zghal (Tunisian b. 1970).

Collectors & art enthusiasts will be drawn to the rich narratives depicted in these artworks. The auction will also include works from the collection of Dr Mohammed Said Farsi, a philanthropist and well-known supporter of the arts in the Middle East.

Janet Rady comments “I am thrilled with the variety of works in this sale by extraordinarily talented artists from all over Africa and the Middle East, mainly from private collections. Many artists featured have made their name in the last century, in addition to those currently forging theirs in this one.”

For more information, please visit Olympia Auctions.

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