Sun, 31st Oct 2021 11:00

Art, Life and Love: The Collection of Nwabisa Xayiya (Live Auction)

  Lot 49
Lot 49 - Deborah Bell (South Africa 1957-)


Deborah Bell (South Africa 1957-)
Meditation 1

bronze on a steel base

Signature details: signed and numbered 1/5
Exhibited: Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, Everard Read, 7 to 9 September 2012.
Location: Cape Town

Estimated at R300,000 - R500,000

Condition Report

The overall condition is good.

Please note, we are not qualified conservators and these reports give our opinion as to the general condition of the works. We advise that bidders view the lots in person to satisfy themselves with the condition of prospective purchases.


bronze on a steel base

Signature details: signed and numbered 1/5
Exhibited: Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg, Everard Read, 7 to 9 September 2012.
Location: Cape Town


87 x 42 x 40 cm excluding base; 117 x 40 x 50 cm including base


Private collection, Johannesburg.

Everard Read, Johannesburg.


Celebrated South African contemporary artist Deborah Bell works in a range of media including canvas, paper, dry point etching and large-scale bronzes. She has developed powerful and recognisable motifs across her works and her iconography draws from a wide range of cultures –African, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, early Christian and European. Fascinated by ancient civilisations and their excavated artefacts her work incorporates powerful, totemic images and layered visual, symbolic and iconographic references of past and present worlds.

Meditation 1 was first shown as a part of Bell’s Meditation series in Earthworks/Claybodies, a thematic exhibition of ceramic sculpture at the Pretoria Art Museum and Standard Bank Gallery in 2003 and the Sasol Museum in 2004. The show was curated by artist Wilma Cruise and included artwork by Deborah Bell, Guy du Toit, Josephine Ghesa and Cruise herself.

Cruise notes that, “all four artists work figuratively” and that they, “all use the body as a conveyor of meaning”. The most obvious link is, however, “their use of the material of fired clay”. They were united by the ways in which they boldly challenge the boundaries of ceramics. Bell is not known primarily for her work with clay. She has however achieved notable success with the medium and Cruise elaborates that “it takes an artist from outside ceramics to show us how the medium can be used in a manner that is both assertively physical in its dealing with the elements of clay and fire and at the same time challenging in its conceptual ramifications”.

The Meditation Series I-III were originally exhibited only in their clay form and later cast in bronze. An edition of 5 and 2 artists proof were cast and were first exhibited by the Everard Read Gallery at the 2012 FNB Joburg Artfair.

Bell’s work is represented in public and private collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Smithsonian Institute and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Hara Museum in Tokyo and the IZIKO South African National Gallery in Cape Town.

[1] Cruise, W. (2003). On curating Earthworks/Claybodies: an exhibition of ceramic sculpture, de arte, 38:68, 57-58, DOI: 10.1080/00043389.2003.11877015. pp.57-58.

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 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: Art, Life and Love: The Collection of Nwabisa Xayiya (Live Auction), Sun, 31st Oct 2021

This October, 2021, we are honoured to present Art, Life and Love:  The Collection of Nwabisa Xayiya, a single owner auction showcasing the cultivated taste and style of Nwabisa Xayiya.

The auction offers examples by great modernists as well as exciting contemporary pieces. Notable is a selection of work by George Pemba. There is also a set of impressive urban scenes and portraits by Gerard Sekoto, a rarely seen Alexis Preller, a glorious Robert Hodgins, and varied examples of Dumile Feni’s work. Within the contemporary offering, there are outstanding works by Blessing Ngobeni, Sam Nhlengethwa, William Kentridge, Teresa Firmino, Athi-Patra Ruga, Kudzanai Chiurai, Nelson Makamo, Owusu-Ankomah and Nicholas Hlobo.


Lots will be on view at the Xayiya residence: 63 4th Street, Houghton, Johannesburg
Saturday 23 October to Saturday 30 October from 10 am to 6 pm

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.