14th Sep, 2022 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

Lot 9
Lot 9 - Blessing  Ngobeni (South Africa 1985-)


Blessing Ngobeni (South Africa 1985-)
Untouchable (Politician)

oil and collage on canvas

Artwork date: 2015
Signature details: signed and dated on the bottom right
Exhibited: Gallery MOMO, Cape Town, 'As if you Care', 2 July to 15 August 2015.

Sold for R295,880
Estimated at R250,000 - R350,000


oil and collage on canvas

Artwork date: 2015
Signature details: signed and dated on the bottom right
Exhibited: Gallery MOMO, Cape Town, 'As if you Care', 2 July to 15 August 2015.


175 x 302 x 10 cm


Private collection, Johannesburg.

Gallery MOMO, Cape Town.


In 2015, Blessing Ngobeni laid bare the current politics in his solo show, As If You Care at Gallery MOMO in Cape Town. With many of the paintings resembling Pablo Picasso’s 1973 Guernica, Ngobeni deftly critiques the corruption and scandal within South African politics. What is noteworthy about Ngobeni’s work, is how it reflects conversations and questions that are very specific to the time and place in which it is made. This is apparent in Untouchable (Politician), which depicts a macabre figure with horns atop his head and money visible from his pocket, floating out of reach of an armed crowd underneath (it reminds one of Hieronymus Bosch’s inhabitants of hell). The artist layers meaning and context in his painted collage – one inscription reads ‘cheers to those who tend to look away’. The work speaks to the greed of those in power, both in South Africa and globally, whilst the general public is left without the resources and ability to oppose them.[1]

In the same year that this painting was produced, Blessing Ngobeni attended a two-month residency at the Headlands Centre for Art in San Francisco. It was the start of Ngobeni’s acceleration within the art field. In 2016, he was among several international artists, yet the only artist from Africa, selected for the Cleveland Foundation’s Creative Fusion Program. Ngobeni has participated in numerous local and international exhibitions since then and is the founder of the Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize (BNAP), aimed at assisting young and emerging artists to start their professional careers.

Carina Jansen

[1] Kuijers, I. (2015). Audacious Commentary on Punch and Judy Politics. ArtThrob.

Retrieved from: https://artthrob.co.za/2015/08/14/blessing-ngobeni-audacious-commentary-on-punch-and-judy-politics/


The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably, Johannesburg Art Gallery and the SAFFCA Collection, South Africa.

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Auction: 20th Century & Contemporary Art, 14th Sep, 2022


Aspire Art will impress collectors with this focused, boutique-style auction. Including 81 carefully selected lots the sale boasts impressive examples by many of South Africa’s most celebrated artists. A fine selection of William Kentridge works, including two original drawings, Eduardo Villa sculptures, painting by Robert Hodgins and Walter Battiss and a wonderful early Penny Siopis drawing are on offer.

Also featured are two special sections – Black Modernism and Photography. Aspire has firmly cemented itself as a champion of both these collecting segments and collectors will be spoilt for choice with a rare drawing by Dumile Feni as well as works by other modernists including Gerard Sekoto, George Pemba and Lucas Sithole and photographs by David Goldblatt, Mohau Modisakeng and Simphiwe Ndzube amongst others.


The exhibition preview is open to the public.

Viewing is from Friday 9 to Wednesday 14 September.

Weekdays from 09h30 to 16h30, Saturdays from 09h30 to 14h00, and Sundays by appointment.

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