STHENJWA LUTHULI (B. 1991)
WORKS SOLD FOR THE MOWAA RAINFOREST GALLERY AND THE NIGERIA PAVILION AT THE VENICE BIENNALE 2024
STHENJWA LUTHULI (B. 1991)

"Iziwe" The Nations

Details
STHENJWA LUTHULI (B. 1991)
"Iziwe" The Nations
signed and dated ‘2022 STHENJWA LUTHULI’ (on the reverse)
acrylic on carved wood
72 ½ x 54 3⁄8in. (184 x 138cm.)
Executed in 2022
Provenance
Donated by the artist to MOWAA, courtesy of Unit London.
Sale room notice
This Lot is Withdrawn.

Brought to you by

Anna Touzin
Anna Touzin Specialist, Head of Day Sale

Lot Essay

‘I strive to break the chains of cultural erosion, recognizing the immense importance our inheritance holds for us as Africans. It serves as a platform to reclaim, embrace and celebrate our unique traditions, customs, and ways of life. By showcasing our rich cultural tapestry, we hope to ignite a renewed sense of pride, curiosity, and connection among our people.’

– STHENJWA LUTHULI

Christie’s and the Museum of West African Art (MOWAA) in Nigeria are collaborating to raise funds for MOWAA and its initiatives to create a cultural ecosystem in Benin City, based on the art of the past, present and future. A number of artists have generously agreed to donate original works of art to the auction, including Tunji Adeniyi-Jones, Lakwena Maciver and Victor Ehikhamenor. Proceeds from the sale of the works will go towards MOWAA initiatives including the presentation of the Nigeria Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia, 2024—commissioned by the Governor of Edo State and also curated by Aindrea Emelife—and the 20-acre Creative Campus, including the Rainforest Gallery. Designed by the Dakar-based architecture firm Worofila, the Rainforest Gallery will be dedicated to showcasing Modern and Contemporary art, as well as historic exhibitions.

Sthenjwa Luthuli is a South African-born artist, renowned for producing headless figures which critically engage with his social landscape. The works signal the ways in which education, or lack thereof, can be weaponised to repress individual freedoms: ‘shackled by circumstance, free will is eroded by the abused powers of state and a lacking social infrastructure’. With this theme in hand, Luthuli presents dynamic, freely dancing figures—without heads—within patterned, textured and design-intensive outfits. He positions these upon equally intricate backgrounds, causing the figures to brim with personality and warmth. Luthuli reveals a distinct humanity within his subjects, independent from their minds, making the point that the latter should have no bearing on our value judgement of the former in a world governed by rules, restrictions and social norms. Luthuli is inspired by a number of artists including Ai Weiwei, Wangechi Mutu and Yinka Shonibare, all of whom have trailblazed in their methods of integrating art and politics, and in their unrestricted use of pattern, mixed media and colour.
Luthuli first pursued his passion for art by enrolling in Velobala’s Saturday Art Classes, an initiative hosted by the African Art Centre at the Durban University of Technology. Attaining distinction, he was selected to further take part in the Velobala Mentorship Program in 2012, where he was mentored by artist and lecturer Themba Shibase. Since 2011 he has participated in a number of solo and group exhibitions worldwide, from Germany to Ghana and the United Kingdom. Luthuli has also participated in art fairs, including Untitled Art Miami Beach and EXPO Chicago among others.

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