7th Jun, 2023 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

  Lot 13
Lot 13 - Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga (Kenya 1960-)


Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga (Kenya 1960-)
Before Winter

metal sheets, steel wire, dry leaves, and handcrafted paper

Artwork date: 2016

Sold for R102,938
Estimated at R80,000 - R120,000


metal sheets, steel wire, dry leaves, and handcrafted paper

Artwork date: 2016


112 x 90 cm; framed size: 124 x 104 x 5 cm


Private collection, Cape Town.

Zeitz MOCCA, Cape Town, Zeitz Mocca Benefit Auction, 1 December 2018, lot 18.

October Gallery, London.


Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga is a contemporary artist from Kenya, acclaimed for her sculptures and installations that explore themes of memory, migration, and displacement. Her creative approach is deeply influenced by her upbringing in rural Kenya, and the cultural traditions she inherited from her family.

One of the most distinctive features of Gakunga's work is her use of Mabati, a commonly available sheet metal used for roofing and walls in Kenya. The material is associated with the Mabati Women Groups of the 1960s in central Kenya – a progressive women's movement, who during the unrest of the Kenyan government organized to replace their grass thatch roofs with Mabati while the men were away in the cities for work. This initiative enabled them to collect water from their Mabati roofs to combat the scarcity of clean drinking water in the villages. Gakunga's artwork explores the ways in which women in underdeveloped countries have tackled the challenge of gathering and managing water resources.

Gakunga has been recognised with numerous accolades, including the 2021 Royal Academy of Arts' Charles Wollaston Award in London. Her work has been exhibited in important art fairs and in prominent galleries and museums across the world, such as the Museu Afro Brasil in São Paulo in 2015, Frieze New York in 2017, the International Triennial of Tapestry in Poland in 2019, and the 1:54 London Contemporary African Art Fair in 2017, among others.

The artist Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga in her studio surrounded by

the Mabati material.

You can place an absentee bid through our website - please sign in to your account on our website to proceed.

In the My Account tab you can also enter telephone bids, or email bids@aspireart.net to log telephone/absentee bids.

Join us on the day of the auction to follow and bid in real-time.

The auction will be live-streamed with an audio-visual feed.

Auction: 20th Century & Contemporary Art, 7th Jun, 2023


Aspire Art will impress collectors with this focused, boutique-style auction in Johannesburg. A feature of the carefully compiled collection is a strong focus on contemporary African artists. Collectors of contemporary works from Africa will be spoilt for choice with works by Thierry Oussou (Benin), Richard Mudariki (Zimbabwe) and Banele Khoza (Swaziland). Local contemporary favourites include Nandipha  Mntambo, Cinga Samson and Gerhard Marx amongst others. Contemporary photographers are also well represented with works by Aida Muluneh (Ethiopia), Kudzanai Chiurai (Zimbabwe) and South African international superstar, Zanele Muholi, while important historical images are included with works of Winnie Mandela by Alf Kumalo and a portfolio of twelve works – chronicling the hardships of apartheid – from Ernest Cole’s seminal House of Bondage (1967).

A highlight of the sale is South African modernist Alexis Preller’s, Adam (1972) – a recently discovered, never before seen, work forming part of Preller’s series of Adamic-themed works from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Other significant modern pieces include a unique terrazzo sculpture by Edoardo Villa, still lifes by Maggie Laubser and works by Cecil Skotnes, Walter Battiss and J.H Pierneef. 

The sale concludes with a special section of  William Kentridge editioned prints led by the impressive Blue Head (1993 – 1998).



Viewing will be open from  Friday 2 to Wednesday 7 June 8:30 to 16:30 and Saturday 3 June from 10:00 to 14:00.

View all lots in this sale

Images *

Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.





While we endeavour to assist our Clients as much as possible, we require artwork(s) to be delivered and/or collected from our premises by the Client. In instances where a Client is unable to deliver or collect artwork(s), Aspire staff is available to assist in this process by outsourcing the services to one of our preferred Service Providers. The cost for this will be for the Client’s account, with an additional Handling Fee of 15% charged on top of the Service Provider’s invoice.

Aspire Art provides inter-company transfer services for its Clients between Johannesburg and Cape Town branches. These are based on the size of the artwork(s), and charged as follows:

Small (≤60x90x10 cm): R400

Medium (≤90x120x15 cm): R800

Large (≤120x150x20 cm): R1,200

Over-size: Special quote


Should artwork(s) be collected or delivered to/from Clients by Aspire Art directly, the following charges will apply:

Collection/delivery ≤20km: R400

Collection/delivery 20km>R800≤50km

Collection/delivery >50km: Special quote



A flat fee of R100 will be added to the invoice for packaging of unframed works on paper.


International Collectors Shipping Package

For collectors based outside South Africa who purchase regularly from Aspire Art’s auctions in South Africa, it does not make sense to ship artworks individually or per auction and pay shipping every time you buy another work. Consequently, we have developed a special collectors’ shipping package to assist in reducing shipping costs and the constant demands of logistics arrangements.

For buyers from outside South Africa, we will keep the artworks you have purchased in storage during the year and then ship all the works you have acquired during the year together, so the shipping costs are reduced. At the end of the annual period, we will source various quotes to get you the best price, and ship all your artworks to your desired address at once.

Aspire Art will arrange suitable storage during, and cost-effective shipping at the end, of the annual period.



Collections are by appointment, with 24-hours’ notice

Clients are requested to contact the relevant office and inform Aspire Art of which artwork(s) they would like to collect, and allow a 24-hour window for Aspire Art’s logistics department to retrieve the artwork(s) and prepare them for collection.


Handling Fee

Aspire Art charges a 15% Handling Fee on all Logistics, Framing, Restoration and Conservation arranged by Aspire.