Live Virtual Auction, 17 - 18 May 2021
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About this Item
From the Exile series.
The idea of utopia is a recurring and central subject matter in Athi-Patra Ruga’s oeuvre. The Mayibuye uprising was a series of protests instigated by the ANC in 1952, with the aim of achieving liberty and freedom for the people of South Africa through protest and activism. To create a utopia. In an interview with Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at Nørrebro Teater, Denmark, in June 2016, the artist states, ‘I realised that the way we were raised, we were raised to believe we reached some type of Utopia in 1994 and everything was going to be okay, it kind of betrayed us.’ The artist thus creates his own utopia which he calls Azania, reflecting a pre-colonial idea of southeast Africa dating back to 40ad which was revived as a rallying cry by pan-African nationalists in the liberation struggle. In the present lot, three figures wearing bright, luminous stockings, holding huge bouquets of colourful balloons are seated in a shimmering gold jungle festooned with pink ribbons. These fictional characters, the ‘Future White Woman of Azania’, are the rulers of Azania. The artist’s playful and colourful world emphasises the situation that there both already is, and never will be, a utopia.