Curatorial Voices: African Landscapes, Past and Present

Live Virtual Auction, 19 February 2024

Curatorial Voices: African Landscapes, Past and Present
About the Session

From Thomas Baines to Jake Aikman, Curatorial Voices: African Landscapes, Past and Present will showcase art by pioneering modernist and trailblazing contemporary artists, spanning 175 years of visual landscape painting on the African continent. This comprehensive auction reveals a nuanced understanding of the diverse cultural, historical, and environmental contexts that have shaped artistic representations of the landscape. Through an examination of various themes, the auction seeks to engage viewers in a dialogue that transcends time and space, connecting past representations to contemporary perspectives. The auction attempts to engage with the diversity of artists that have shaped and continue to shape the depiction of Africa through time.

The auction invites viewers on a captivating journey through the artistic expressions that mirror the multifaceted nature of African terrain. Through meticulous  curation and insightful analysis, the catalogue aspires to be a valuable resource for scholars, art enthusiasts and anyone eager to embark on a thought-provoking exploration of Africa’s rich and complex artistic heritage.

Curatorial Voices
Recognising the dynamic discourse surrounding African Landscape, both past and present, the auction features texts by invited contemporary curators responding to the auction selection and themes. As external voices, they provide critical insights into the complexities of the landscape theme. By amplifying these contemporary perspectives, the exhibition seeks to bridge the gap between traditional representations and the ever-evolving discourse on the role of African art within the global art market.

Azza Satti, Independent Curator, Kenya
Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director of the African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), Nigeria
Camilla van Hoogstraten, Head of Sales, Latitudes Online
Ugoma Ebilah, Curator, Gallerist & Founder of Bloom Art
Nkgopoleng Moloi, Independent Curator, South Africa

  • Thierry Oussou; Gymnastic
  • Thierry Oussou; Gymnastic
  • Thierry Oussou; Gymnastic

Lot Estimate
ZAR 120 000 - 160 000
Cape Town
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About this Item

Beninese 1988-
mixed media on paper
132 by 154,5cm excluding frame; 144,5 by 164,5 by 6,5cm including frame


Thierry Oussou is a self-taught artist who works in a range of media, most notably drawing, painting, wood sculpture, installation and performance. Widely exhibited internationally, his associative practice borrows from archaeological methods and explores the relationship between contemporary art and ethnography. In 2011 Oussou established Atelier Ye in Benin as an informal vehicle to bring together young artists: “[T]here was no art school in Benin and I wanted to go to art school.”1 His idiosyncratic practice came to the attention of artists like Meschac Gaba and Barthélémy Toguo, whom he later assisted, in the process of “learning technical skills and conceptual ways of thinking”.2

Oussou is best known for his large works on paper, which are interchangeably referred to as drawings and paintings. His earliest works on paper were small in scale. Inspired by the slates used by Beninese schoolchildren in lieu of paper, in 2014 he started to experiment with larger works on black paper. The artist favours paper over canvas as his primary medium. “I make installations with twigs. I work with paper, which comes from wood,” he explained in an interview. “There is a link and coherence between all these media.” He added that paper’s fragility is another reason for its appeal. “We are all a reflection of paper. I am developing the concept of the fragility of paper in relation to human beings. We are as fragile as paper.”3

The gestural mark-making and neo-expressionist figuration in this large drawing are typical of his lauded practice. This lot derives from a series of new ink, acrylic and oil-bar works on paper made in 2018 during a month-long residency in Johannesburg. The artist’s psychological landscapes of a reimagined Johannesburg were well received. “Johannesburg is always changing – has always been in flux, in a state of continuous building and demolition, displacement and opportunity, since it was a mining town. Oussou’s contribution to the city’s visual arts ‘tradition’ is, aptly, capturing fleeting traces of the city in a particular moment in time.”4

1. Anna McNay (2018) Studio International, ‘Thierry Oussou’, online,
2. Inga Lāce (2015) Interview with artist, online,
3. McNay op.cit.
4. Chris Thurman (2018) Arthrob, 'Fleeting Traces: Thierry Oussou’s Before It Is Completely Gone’, online,, accessed 24 January 2024.

This lot has been selected by Curatorial Voice: Azza Satti.


Stevenson, Johannesburg, 2018.

Private Collection.

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