Live Virtual Auction, 15 February 2020

Sold for

Lot 58
Mikhael Subotzky; Tamatie, Beaufort West Prison

Lot Estimate
R 120 000 - 180 000
Selling Price

About this Item

South African 1981-
Tamatie, Beaufort West Prison
edition 3/9
pigment print on archival paper
image size: 105 by 128,5cm; 130 by 152,5 by 4cm including frame


Subotzky’s Beaufort West photographic series is an intimate look at the small, dusty Karoo town; capturing life both in- and outside the prison environment. One of the intrigues of Beaufort West for the artist was the strangeness of the placement of its prison: contained in a roundabout on the N1 highway that runs through the centre of town. In the 2009 photobook for this series, Jonny Steinbeck described the desperate nature of the rural town: “You can see the trouble Beaufort West lives with in the thin abstraction of statistics. Two-thirds of its adult residents have no work. And in this town of 37,000, more than 20 people have been murdered in a year: a hair-raising homicide rate of 60 in every 100,000.”1 

Of this series Subotzky said “In Beaufort West, I was looking less at the drama of the institution (or post-institution life) and more at the particularities of people’s lives in relation to marginalization and struggle…”2 

This is compellingly captured in the present lot, a powerfully quiet vignette of the prisoner, Tamatie.


1. Jonny Steinbeck (2009) Beaufort West, [Online], Available: [12 December, 2019]

2. Mikhael Subotzky and Michael Godby (2006) Inside and Outside: Mikhael Subotzky in Conversation with Michael Godby. Kronos, (32), 14. Retrieved from


Another example from the edition exhibited at:

Museum of Modern Art, New York City, Beaufort West (in New Photography 2008: Josephine Meckseper and Mikhael Subotzky), 10 September, 2008 to 12 January, 2009.

Studio La Citta, Verona, Beaufort West, December 1, 2007 to January 26, 2008.

FOAM (Foto Museum Amsterdam), Amsterdam, Netherlands, 21 September to 11 November 2007.

Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, Beaufort West, August, 2007.


Other lots that might interest you
Athi-Patra Ruga; Touched by an Angel
Athi-Patra Ruga
Touched by an Angel
R 700 000 - 900 000
Berni Searle; Still
Berni Searle
R 200 000 - 300 000
Musa N Nxumalo; Toi Toi
Musa N Nxumalo
Toi Toi
R 40 000 - 60 000
Zanele Muholi; Isililo XX
Zanele Muholi
Isililo XX
R 40 000 - 60 000
Mary Sibande; I Have Not, I Have
Mary Sibande
I Have Not, I Have
R 120 000 - 160 000
Bridget Baker; The Transparent Girl in Kippel
Bridget Baker
The Transparent Girl in Kippel
R 150 000 - 200 000