6th Mar, 2024 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

Lot 46
Lot 46 - Zanele Muholi (South Africa 1972-)


Zanele Muholi (South Africa 1972-)
Sasa, Bleecker, New York, 2016

archival pigment ink on Baryta Fibre paper

Artwork date: 2016
Edition: from an edition of 60

Sold for R148,688
Estimated at R130,000 - R180,000


archival pigment ink on Baryta Fibre paper

Artwork date: 2016
Edition: from an edition of 60


sheet size: 46 x 60 cm; image size: 42 x 56 cm; framed size: 58 x 72 x 4 cm


Private collection, Cape Town.

ARTTHROB Editions.


Photographed in New York in 2016, Sasa, Bleecker is a striking self-portrait from the artist’s ongoing series Somnyama Ngonyama, meaning 'Hail, the Dark Lioness' in isiZulu. The series re-imagines classic portraiture and re-articulates notions of race and representation. Here portrayed in a highly stylised way, Zanele Muholi confronts the viewer with an intense and intimate gaze, staring straight forward from a sharp lit spotlight. The result is a powerful, yet sensual portrait that confronts issues around body politics.

One of the most acclaimed contemporary and activist photographers today, Muholi’s work continues to garner critical acclaim while reaching international audiences.


  • Examples from the edition form part of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) and the Embassy of Belgium, Pretoria collection
  • Photographs from the Somnyama Ngonyama series are highly sought-after. The highest price achieved at auction for one of these was £35,000 in 2020 for the sale of Zodwa, Paris (2014) in London. In 2022, Aspire Art sold Thuthuka I (2022) for a record-breaking R477,960.
  • Listed at no 28 on the 2022 Art Review Power 100 list of the most influential people in art, Zanele Muholi was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from The University of Liège in Belgium.
  • Major museum exhibitions were recently presented at the Kunstmuseum Luzern, SFMOMA in San Francisco; Muholi: A Visual Activist at the Museo delle Culture Photo in Milan and the MEP (Maison Européenne de la Photographie) in Paris was the first review exhibition of the artist’s photographs in France.
  • In 2024, the Tate Modern will be showing a major survey of the artist’s works – based on Muholi’s 2020/21 Tate exhibition including new works produced since then.
  • The Fondation Louis Vuitton exhibited From South Africa: Zanele Muholi and David Goldblatt in 2022 which showcased the two photographers' work together. That same year, Muholi was an honouree at the International Centre for Photography’s (ICP) 11th Annual Spotlights Benefit in New York.
  • The artist presented solo exhibitions at the National Gallery of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland and GL Strand, Copenhagen, Denmark as well as the acclaimed show Being Muholi: Portraits as Resistance, at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, USA.
  • Muholi exhibited images from the Somnyama Ngonyama series in May You Live in Interesting Times at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019
  • The artist produced Masihambisane, a project on Visual Activism for Performa 17, New York in 2017.
  • In 2019, Muholi received the Best Photography Book Award from the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation for Somnyama Ngonyama: Hail, The Dark Lioness.


The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably the 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville; Artur Walther Collection, Neu-Ulm; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Cincinnati Art Museum; Fondation Blachère, Apt; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam, The Netherlands Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg; Margulies Collection, Miami; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Museum of Modern Art of Arnhem, Netherlands; National Gallery of Art, Ottawa; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; National Museum of Mali, Bamako; North Carolina Museum of Art; Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Princeton Museum of Art; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town; Studio Museum of Harlem, NY Tang Museum of Art; Tate Modern, London; The Art Institute of Chicago; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven and the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCCA), Cape Town.

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