artnet Auctions Presents Ubuntu: Celebrating the Human Spirit in Contemporary African Art

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Featuring works by William Kentridge, Chéri Samba, Malangatana Valente-Ngwenya, and Malick Sidibé, among others. Live sale on artnet Auctions from September 3 through 12, 2013.

Untitled by Malangatana Valente-Ngwenya,

Malangatana Valente-Ngwenya, Untitled (Blue), 1998, Oil on canvas, Est. US$50,000–70,000

artnet Auctions is pleased to present Ubuntu: Celebrating the Human Spirit in Contemporary African Art, an auction of over 35 contemporary African works, that together present the diverse manners in which artists from across the continent are exploring the human condition in Africa today. The sale features paintings, works on paper, photographs, original sculptures, and prints, with estimates ranging from US$1,500 to 70,000. Established and emerging artists Cheri Cherin, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Alberto Chissano, Jean Depara, Lalla Essaydi, Mourad Gharrach, David Goldblatt, George Afedzi Hughes, William Kentridge, George Lilanga, Mário Macilau, Chéri Samba, Keita Seydou, Malick Sidibé, and Malangatana Valente-Ngwenya, and others are featured in the sale. Artists represent countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mali, among others.

Featured Paintings:

The sale offers exceptional paintings by two important artists, Malangatana Valente-Ngwenya (Mozambican, 1936–2011) and George Afedzi Hughes (Ghanaian, b.1962). Untitled (Blue) (1998) by Ngwenya is a museum-level work, displaying a very rare, expressive, and emotional use of the color blue. This is the only known instance of the artist using this hue. Estimated at US$50,000–70,000, this work stands out as one of the finest examples of the artist’s iconic exaggerated Figurative style. Another prominent painting included in this sale is Red Recollections (2002) by Hughes, estimated at US$30,000 to 40,000. Hughes integrates intense imagery—such as a decapitated soldier—with an unabashed use of text, in a fiercely dynamic composition that speaks directly to the British colonization of his native Ghana. Additional highlights of the sale include notable paintings and works on paper by Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Cheri Cherin, Chéri Samba, George Lilanga, Rufus Ongundele, and Camille-Pierre Pambu Bodo.

Another exceptional work is Le haut at la bas (2001), a rare acrylic and glitter painting by Chéri Samba (Congolese, b.1956), and the only non-figurative work in the sale, estimated at US$25,000–35,000. One of just two known abstract paintings from Samba’s decades-long body of work, here, geometric patterns and undulating lines in a vivid palette replace the human figure, expressing ubuntu or African humanism. This work encapsulates the universal human experience in a composition that defies time and place.

Featured Photographs:

The sale also features a diverse selection of photographs, including several by Malick Sidibé (Malian, b.1936). Nuit de Noël (Christmas Eve), a gelatin silver print by Sidibé, is an extraordinary image of a couple dressed elegantly in white, dancing together on Christmas Eve. Printed at an impressive 47 x 47 inches (120 x 120 centimeters), this photograph encapsulates the celebratory lifestyle of the younger generations in Mali during the 1960s and 1970s, and is estimated at US$7,500–8,500. In addition, the sale includes notable photographs by Jean Depara, Lalla Essaydi, Mourad Gharrach, David Goldblatt, Mário Macilau, and Keita Seydou.

Ubuntu: Celebrating the Human Spirit in Contemporary African Art will be live on artnet Auctions from September 3 through 12, 2013, and on view at

For more information about this sale, please contact artnet Auctions specialists:

Heather Russell
Senior Specialist, Contemporary Art
+1-212-497-9700 ext. 692

Miles Barth
Senior Specialist, Contemporary Photography
+1-212-497-9700 ext. 123

Media Contacts:
To receive further information and images, or to arrange interviews, members of the media may contact:
Elizabeth Reina-Longoria or Deirdre Maher
Elizabeth(at)bluemedium(dot)com or Deirdre(at)bluemedium(dot)com

About artnet:

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About artnet Auctions:

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Heather Russell
artnet Auctions
1-212-497-9700 692
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Miles Barth
artnet Auctions
1-212-497-9700 123
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