Contemporary Art

Live Auction, 16 February 2019

Contemporary Auction

Sold for

ZAR 85 350
Lot 28
  • Penny Siopis; Slings and Arrows

Lot Estimate
ZAR 50 000 - 70 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 85 350

About this Item

South African 1953-
Slings and Arrows
signed, dated 2007 and inscribed with the title on the reverse
oil, ink and glue on canvas
20,5 by 25,5cm excluding frame


Penny Siopis’ Slings and Arrows – the title derives from a soliloquy by Shakespeare’s Hamlet – depicts a hybrid human-deer figure wounded by arrows and with a rope strung around its neck. Her work directly references Frida Kahlo’s 1946 work Wounded Deer in composition. While Kahlo’s deer is a symbol of her personal emotional and physical anguish, Siopis’ draws on the vulnerability of the oft-hunted deer as a representation of the objectification and trauma experienced by abused women – a theme she is well known for exploring. The work formed part of Siopis’ 2007 solo exhibition Lasso, where she employed the contrasting meanings of ‘lasso’ to ‘stimulate the way I try to figure vulnerability both as painful and as a potentially transformative experience’.1 The painting is visually appealing, tinged in the light pinks and reds Siopis uses in her Pinky Pinky series, but, like those works, its underlying message of violence is in stark contrast to this – perhaps reflecting the duality of the female body as a site of pleasure and pain.

  1. Stevenson. (2007) Penny Siopis: Lasso, [Online] Available: [2018, December].


Russell Kaplan Auctioneers, Johannesburg, 15 September 2012, lot 87.


Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, Penny Siopis: Lasso, 20 September to 20 October 2007. Illustrated in colour in the catalogue, unpaginated.

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