Strauss & Co is South Africa’s leading auction house. On February 17th, they held their first auction dedicated to contemporary art. This is due to the increasing interest in African contemporary art from local and international critics and collectors alike.
William Kentridge is the most famous contemporary artist in South Africa. He is from Joburg. He is internationally known and has had works in places like the Louvre in Paris and MOMA in New York. He has worked and collaborated in many different mediums. He is also involved in theatre including directing opera.
Penny Siopis is one of the most well known female artists of South Africa. Her main focus has always been a fearless study of history migration, sexuality, shame, memory, and violence, which she calls poetics of vulnerability.
She became famous in the 1980s with her densely layered oil paintings which she used various tools to create her cake paintings.
Davis Goldblatt is a well-known photographer in South Africa. He is famous for the documentation of the everyday destruction, cruelties, and absurdities during the Apartheid-era. During this time his photos were mainly black and white to show the anger, fear, and disgust.
Blessing Ngobeni is a local Joburg artist who creates surreal paintings that show society influenced by power. His work is considered stimulating and terrifying by his viewers. He uses corruption, addiction, violence, slavery, loss, lust, greed, and exploitation in his works.
Robert Hodgins died had his first exhibition was in 1956 Joburg but before he made an impact in the art world was a journalist and academic. After he retired in the late 1980s he focused on his art. In South Africa, he is known for his pieces on powerful men wearing suits and fatigues.
Mohau Modisakeng is known for his creating self-portraits that are thought-provoking and engages in the lasting spiritual, political, social, and economic impact of South Africa’s Apartheid past and how it has affected the black collective memory. He is a sculptor turned photographer that won the Standard Bank Young Artist award in 2016.
Wayne Barker is one of South Africa’s most well-known iconoclasts. He uses bold colors, neon and, objects in his works. He is well known for his anarchic South African political pieces.
Kudzanai Chiurai was born in Zimbabwe and is a photographer, artist, and cultural philosopher. He is known for thought-provoking montages of colonialism and its effects on modern Africa. He works mostly in South Africa but his activism is focused on Zimbabwe.
The twin photographers Hasan and Husain Essop use their photos to question the uncertainty and fear focused on Muslims in global politics. They traveled to Israel, Senegal, Germany, Holland, and Saudi Arabia to take photos of their religious sites. They use performance, installation, and photography to transform any scene into a platform to examine complex problems.
One of South Africa’s most controversial artists, Ayanda Mabulu, has had his graphic political paintings bring up arguments of artistic expression and censorship. His most graphic paintings show political leaders of South Africa in sexual positions. The graphic paintings get the most attention but he does have tamer paintings as well.