Nairobi organised auction of 56 African artwork for a record $210,000 and this is how much each fetched

Nairobi organised auction of 56 African artwork for record Sh21 million and this is how much each fetched.

Collectors some bidding from as far as the United States snapped up modern and contemporary paintings, collage, photographs and sculptures created by some of Africa’s biggest artistes.

“This year’s auction brought in new local and international collectors, some of whom were discovering East African artists for the first time,” said Danda Jaroljmek, founder and co-director of Circle Art Gallery.

The most highly-prized artwork of the night was by the late Ugandan artist Geoffrey Musaka whose oil painting done in 1993, ‘In the Sugar Plantation’ went for a record Sh1.9 million ($19,000).

Musaka whose works have been sought-after by international collectors for many years other painting in the auction, ‘Birds at Home’ done 29 years ago, also went for Sh997,900 ($9979).

One of Kenya’s most acclaimed painters, Peterson Kamwathi’s 2007 ‘Untitled’ sheep done in charcoal and pastel on paper sold for Sh939,200 ($9392), which was right within the range of valuation that the auctioneer had estimated and included in the catalogue.

Ghanaian artist Ablaze Glover’s painting ‘Market Chaos’ also went for over Sh1 million ($10,000).

Young Sudanese artist Miske Mohmmed’s ‘Untitled’ painting inspired a mini-spat that led to her colourful acrylic on canvas work going for Sh446,120 ($4461.2).

90-year-old Kenyan artist Rosemary Karuga ‘Untitled’ collage went for Sh281,760 ($2817.6).

Yony Waite’s 1989 painting ‘Cameleopard in the Clearing’ elicited a lively bidding war but one bidding by phone from the USA ultimately secured the oil painting for Sh1.4 million ($14,000).

Cameleopard is one of the most subtly colourful works by the Kenyan artist who is best known for her stunning black and white.

Rashid Diab, one of Sudan’s most celebrated painters, the bidding for his beautiful ‘Bird Omen’ reached Sh1.4 million ($14,000).

There were several more ‘wars’ over amazing artworks coming from all over Africa, including DR Congo,Egypt,Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

The auction’s success is a reflection of the renaissance that contemporary art generally is having among the well-to-do.

According to the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2018, art is becoming the top luxury possession that the rich are buying.

Art sales recorded an outstanding growth rate of 21 per cent last year.

East African art auction has been running for the past five years and every year continues to attract new artistes and bidders as well as retain veteran auction attendants.

‘‘We are proud that the auction has continued to grow and build a space for collectors of African art and members of the East African business community to not only acquire art, but also to be able to learn about the important artists in the region,” said Ms Jaroljmek.

Last year’s auction netted about Sh19.2 million ($192,000).

For complete list, click on artauctioneastafrica.

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