14th Sep, 2022 18:00

20th Century & Contemporary Art

  Lot 71
Lot 71 - Mohau  Modisakeng  (South Africa 1986-)


Mohau Modisakeng (South Africa 1986-)
Untitled (Zanj 1)

archival inkjet print on Epson UltraSmooth, diasec

Artwork date: 2019
Edition: 1 from edition of 6 + 2APs
Exhibited: Braverman Gallery, Mohau Modisakeng, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 10 July to 8 October 2020.

archival inkjet print on Epson UltraSmooth, diasec

Artwork date: 2019
Edition: 1 from edition of 6 + 2APs
Exhibited: Braverman Gallery, Mohau Modisakeng, Tel Aviv-Yafo, 10 July to 8 October 2020.


150 x 150 x 6 cm


Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv.


In 2019, Mohau Modisakeng, produced multiple bodies of work around the principal title Zanj, which translates to ‘Land of the Blacks’. Working through performance, film and photography, the overarching theme branches off into different focuses.

In Zanj I, a figure rolls and moves through dense brown sand. This piece of the land is symbolic of the ocean in context, paying tribute to the black slave revolt of ad 869–883 across the Gulf in Basra – known as the Zanj Rebellion. The use of intentional movement to depict paradoxical ancestral memory, captures the essence of Modisakeng’s oeuvre; the figures, like his ancestors, appear powerful, yet fragile.

Through daily spiritual practices, Modisakeng works to simultaneously expose the violence of colonisation experienced by Black men and women, historically and still today, whilst empowering himself to represent Blackness in ways that his predecessors were not able to. Capturing a singular body in different poses through multiple shots, Modisakeng aims to individuate those who were part of mass migration. In doing so, he carefully draws attention to a time in history that has informed the present-day living and working conditions of Black people in post-colonial Africa.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this lot will benefit art students on Feenix.org, an online fundraising platform that connects students and communities to fundraise towards achieving debt-free tertiary education.


The artist is represented in numerous local and international collections, notably, Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town.; Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town.; Scheryn Art Collection, Cape Town.; Saatchi Gallery, London and 21C Museum Hotel, Louisville.

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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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