Ending 4th Jul, 2023 18:07

IMPRESSIONS: Works from the Marilyn Martin Collection

  Lot 15
Lot 15 - Fanlo Mkhize (South Africa 1959-1995)


Fanlo Mkhize (South Africa 1959-1995)

oil on board attached to wooden pole and suspended by a wire frame

Literature: Vorster, S. & Del Castello, D. (2015). 'A Chicken in a Goat Coat'. J. Brenner, S. Vorster, L. De Becker & J. Wintjes Life (Ed.). 'Line-Knot: Six Object Biographies' (p.37-49). Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, the artwork title is mentioned on p. 43.
Location: Cape Town

Sold for R3,752
Estimated at R3,000 - R5,000


oil on board attached to wooden pole and suspended by a wire frame

Literature: Vorster, S. & Del Castello, D. (2015). 'A Chicken in a Goat Coat'. J. Brenner, S. Vorster, L. De Becker & J. Wintjes Life (Ed.). 'Line-Knot: Six Object Biographies' (p.37-49). Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery, the artwork title is mentioned on p. 43.
Location: Cape Town


78 x 78 x 48 cm


The collection of Marilyn Martin, Cape Town.


Fanlo Mkhize, more commonly known by the nickname ‘Chickenman’, is recognised for his eccentric artworks and puppets made from found-materials.

During the 1980s, Mkhize started working on the lawns outside the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg. He entertained passers-by with his extraordinary sculptures and also made a series of ‘road signs’. Each of these roughly constructed objects contained a message – sometimes of warnings relating to road safety such as No hooting, Steep descent to the left or Beware of joggers. Other messages including Gone fishing, Abuse of power comes as no surprise, or Safe sex zone were completely unrelated and the artist also made signs to order.

In 1995, Lorna Ferguson and Christopher Till, who were then directors of the first Johannesburg Biennale, titled Africus, commissioned Mkhize to make a sign for the event. “This biennale was significant because it marked South Africa’s re-entry into the international art world after the first democratic elections in 1994 (Becker 2002: 101). It was a monumental, and momentous, series of exhibitions that ambitiously attempted to redefine the canon of South African art (Marschall 2001: 55), notably, to open it up to embrace a range of artistic practices across the country that had been overlooked and generally excluded from the mainstream. Their curatorial focus meant that many questions were raised about what constituted art in the first place, and it is therefore not surprising to learn that Ferguson commissioned Mkhize to produce one of his signature signs with the question ‘But is it art?’ The sign produced, which read, ‘Butisi tart?’ became the unofficial logo of the biennale, and was used prominently on the catalogue cover as well as on invitations, banners, posters, T-shirts, and even condom dispensers promoting the event.”[1]

1] Vorster, S & Del Castello, D. (2015). A Chicken in a Goat Coat. In J. Brenner, S. Vorster, L. De Becker and J. Wintjes Life (Ed.). Line-Knot: Six Object Biographies (pp.37-49). Johannesburg: Standard Bank Gallery. p. 43.


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Auction: IMPRESSIONS: Works from the Marilyn Martin Collection, ending 4th Jul, 2023


Aspire Art is honoured to offer art lovers a rare opportunity to acquire works of art from the private collection of the late Marilyn Martin.

Marilyn Martin played an extraordinary role in the art and cultural life of South Africa. After eleven years as the Director of the South African National Gallery from 1990 until 2001 she was appointed Director of Art Collections for Iziko Museums of Cape Town. Following her retirement from Iziko Museums in 2008 she worked as an independent writer, curator, lecturer. 

The unique collection features a number of works reflecting the warm and personal relationships Marilyn Martin held with many South African artists. A number of works were gifted to her while numerous others include personal dedications and the sale offers a unique opportunity to acquire significant works from a special collection.

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