Circle’s Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction

Villa Rosa Kempinski, Nairobi, Kenya
03 Nov 2014

Circle’s Modern and Contemporary East African Art Auction

Paul Ndema 'Jane the Baptist' (detail) , 2014, Oil on canvas 100 x 100cm, courtesy of the artist and Circle Art Agency

Following the success of Circle’s inaugural auction in 2013, the second Contemporary East African Art Auction will take place at Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi on Monday November 3, from 6pm.

The auction features work from 51 artists from six East African countries in 57 lots, acquired directly from the artists or from collectors from as far as the United States and Thailand.

Last year 90% of the art at auction sold for more than three times the reserve price, raising over Ksh 18.5 million ($215,000).  Buyers, ranging from local tycoons to international collectors, were attracted to the emerging East African market and the desire to ‘discover’ East African art. This region’s artists are much lesser known than those from other parts of the continent whose works have recently sold for million-dollar price tags.

This year’s auction features a wide range of art – hidden treasures from little-known artists such as the portraits from the 1970s by Ugandan Eli Kyeyene whose work has not been seen in public for decades, to cutting-edge contemporary artists such as Kenyan Gor Soudan just back from a museum solo show in Tokyo, plus works from Ethiopians Dawit Abebe and Ephrem Solomon, whose paintings were recently acquired for the Saatchi collection in London.

The carefully selected artists are as diverse in their backgrounds as their work is. The Maasai Mbili Collective live and work in a art space in Nairobi’s Kibera slum. Diaspora Kenyan artist Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga IS represented by the October Gallery in London and lives in Texas.

Some artists have already hit the big time. Kenyans Peterson Kamwathi, Bertiers and Richard Onyango have exhibited abroad and feature in international collections. Edward TingaTinga, the father of Tanzania’s TingaTinga movement who painted for only four years before he was killed in an accidental drive by shooting.

The auction is sponsored by CFC Stanbic Bank, Porsche, Villa Rosa Kempinski and Moët & Chandon.


Press previews will take place at the following times:

Sat 1 Nov: 2pm – 7pm
Sun 2 Nov: 10am – 2pm, 5pm – 7pm
Mon 3 Nov: 10am – 2pm
or by appointment at 910 James Gichuru Road, Lavington prior to these dates


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