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Ibrahim Mahama’s Chale Wote leads African art sale

Ghanaian artist Ibrahim Mahama’s Chale Wote (2014) is poised to headline Sotheby’s Modern and Contemporary African Art sale in London on March 28.
The work is valued at £60,000-90,000 ($83,960-125,940). It’s constructed from jute sacking, set with African wax print textiles and fishing nets.

Ibrahim Mahama is one of Africa's most acclaimed contemporary artists (Image: Sotheby's)

Mahama explains: “The jute sacks are a commentary on Ghana’s historic economic relationship with other countries from early post-colonial days to the present. The sacks were imported from south-eastern Asia, and re-used for the exportation of cocoa, charcoal and other crops.

“They are collected in exchange at specific locations throughout Ghana, before being assembled. It’s important to note that I intentionally refer to the jute sacks as paintings, because I want to draw attention to the specific hanging form of the sacks on a wall.”

One of self-taught Congolese architect Bodys Isek Kingelez’s stunning “extremes maquettes” will also feature, with a valuation of £10,000-15,000 ($13,993-20,990).

Kingelez (1948-2015) started creating his wonderfully strange Afrofuturist visions while working as a teacher in the late 1970s. He sought to create a new vernacular architecture, one that would reflect the hope of post-colonial Africa.

A major Kingelez retrospective at MOMA later this year (May 26-October 28) will introduce his work to a huge new audience.

Over the past few years, African art has become increasingly popular on the international market, with top end pieces attracting higher prices than ever before. In February this year, Nigerian artist Ben Okri’s iconic work Tutu sold for an artist record £1.2m ($1.6m).

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