Live Virtual Auction, 17 - 18 May 2021

Current Bid

Lot 106
Mmakgabo Mmapula Helen Sebidi; The Spirit Bird Fleeing from the Modern World

Lot Estimate
R 150 000 - 200 000
Current Bid
Starting at R 130 000 1 saved
Johannesburg Office
Condition Report
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About this Item

South African 1943-
The Spirit Bird Fleeing from the Modern World
dated 2014-16, inscribed with the artist's name, the title and the medium on the reverse
oil on canvas
70,5 by 93,5 by 2,5cm, unframed


Mmakgabo Mapula Helen Sebidi’s paintings can be meditative. One of the identifying characteristics of her work is the depiction of mythical creatures: here, the bird depicted is enigmatic and the title suggests that it is a spirit bird rather than a real one. In traditional belief systems, spirit animals, and Sebidi’s family spirit animal, the fish, in particular, usually function as teachers or messengers with a personal relationship with an individual. A bird is seen as a messenger who brings word from the ancestors or ancestral spirits. Throughout her career, Sebidi has advocated for the preservation of spiritual African traditions and culture, which she believes are being diluted by a modern world.
The artist’s rich palette brings together complimentary colours, red and green, blue and orange, applied using a pointillist technique with thick overlapping oil colours that provide a rough texture and a strong sense of volume.


Norval Foundation, Cape Town, Batlhaping Ba Re! Mmapula Helen Sebidi, 1 September 2018 to 24 January 2019.

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