2nd Jun, 2019 9:00

Modern & Contemporary Art

Lot 4
Lot 4 - Benon Lutaaya (Uganda 1985-2009)


Benon Lutaaya (Uganda 1985-2009)
Extended figure

charcoal, oil and collage on canvas

Artwork date: 2018
Signature details: signed and dated bottom right

Sold for R170,700
Estimated at R150,000 - R250,000


charcoal, oil and collage on canvas

Artwork date: 2018
Signature details: signed and dated bottom right


153 x 125 cm


Benon Lutaaya was born in 1985 in Kampala, Uganda and lived on the streets from the age of ten. This hardship instilled in him an empathy and understanding of the fragility of life and the vulnerability of the spirit, but also of its resilience and tenacity, all of which is reflected in his work.He moved to Johannesburg in 2011 where he completed a residency at the Bag Factory Artist’s Studios and began his career as an artist. From there his art practice grew rapidly. He was the recipient of multiple awards, including the Citizen Influencer Award, in recognition of his merit as a social influencer and humanitarian. He donated over a million rand to different charities in South Africa and founded The Project Space, a cultural institution focused on creating new spaces in the art world for young African artists and cultural entrepreneurs, especially women. Lutaaya commented that the use of collage as medium – found paper and discarded materials – was in equal parts context, lack of resources and artistic intuition. He had an innate creative resourcefulness stemming from his early life, creating figures out of layers of torn paper, paint and fabrics. His dominant subjects were children and androgynous African figures, and always concerned the human condition. Extended figure (2018) is rendered in Lutaaya’s typical style – torn paper fragments and oil paint comprise a figure ascending from the centre of an ambiguous space of darkened, patched canvas. The assembled face with closed eyes, in a state of catharsis, further echoes Lutaaya’s views on the human spirit and its resolve. Lutaaya did not express peace, nor did he portray suffering. Rather, he celebrated overcoming hardship, and the difficulties that surround us – poverty, greed and violence. He showed that, despite these troubles, there exists an inherent strength in the many different people on the African continent, a place constantly tested by the insidious actions of power. Lutaaya depicted his inherent belief in the goodness of human nature, and the potential that human action contains. An artist who appreciated that making art alone was not enough to change the problems he addressed, but that real action was at the core of effective social change and upliftment. His recent passing is a sad loss to the art community, but his legacy of positivity and humanity survives in his art.

Joshua Stanley

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Auction: Modern & Contemporary Art, 2nd Jun, 2019

Aspire Art Auctions presented a focused and insightfully compiled selection of top-quality modern and contemporary art in their latest sale in Johannesburg.

The company’s commitment to innovation led to a bold and signature move in this sale, which featured a special section dedicated to photography. The medium has been traditionally strong among South African artists but has been without a proper focus in the local auction market. The ground-breaking segment featured a wide range of the most important South African photographers, including Pieter Hugo, David Goldblatt, Guy Tillim, and Zanele Muholi. In addition, the sale starred a number of the market’s big signatures – Alexis Preller J.H. Pierneef, Gerard Sekoto, and Maggie Laubser and top contemporary artists including, Diane Victor, and Wim Botha.


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