Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa

Live Virtual Auction, 28 February 2023

Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa
About the Session

Curatorial Voices: Modern and Contemporary Art from Africa is a dynamic collaborative project conceived by Strauss & Co to address the need for diversified representation of artists from across the African continent in the secondary market. Curated by Strauss & Co Heads of Sale, Kirsty Colledge and Kate Fellens, with input by seven international art experts with embedded knowledge of Africa; Serge Tiroche, Valerie Kabov, Heba Elkayal, Danda Jaroljmek, Anne Kariuki, Dana Endundo Ferreira, Kimberley Cunningham. Curatorial Voices presents collectors with a broad selection of work by leading contemporary artists alongside select pieces by important historical artists.

Sold for

ZAR 64 488
Lot 31
  • Mikhael Subotzky; Tamatie, Beaufort West Prison (0259), Beaufort West Series
  • Mikhael Subotzky; Tamatie, Beaufort West Prison (0259), Beaufort West Series
  • Mikhael Subotzky; Tamatie, Beaufort West Prison (0259), Beaufort West Series

Lot Estimate
ZAR 80 000 - 120 000
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 64 488

About this Item

South African 1981-
Tamatie, Beaufort West Prison (0259), Beaufort West Series

signed, dated 2006, numbered 9/9 and inscribed with the title on the reverse

Light jet c-print on fuji crystal archive paper mounted Dibond
image size: 82 by 100cm; sheet size: 100 by 116cm; 102,5 by 118,5 by 3cm including frame


Accompanied by a Goodman Gallery certificate of authenticity.

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

Mikhael Subotzky is a Cape Town-born, Johannesburg-based multi-media artist who works in photography, film, installation, collage, and painting. His art is concerned with storytelling; critically engaging with narrative and representation. Subotzky graduated from the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2004, where he acted as a part-time lecturer in photography from 2004 to 2006. Between 2005 and 2008, he developed and ran a photographic workshop inside Pollsmoor Prison, Cape Town, and this is where his early career was founded: on photographic projects that explored incarceration and punishment in South Africa.

In 2012, Subotzky was named the Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year for Visual Arts and Okwui Enwezor chose to include his work in the 2015 Venice Biennale. He has been widely exhibited both locally and internationally including the solo exhibition Epilogue at Goodman Gallery, London, UK (2022) and recent group exhibitions Global(e) Resistance at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2021); Masculinities: Liberation through Photography at the Barbican, London, UK (2020); and Inheritance: Recent Video Art from Africa at the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA (2019). He also collaborated with Patrick Waterhouse on a multi-year series, Ponte City, which was presented at Art Basel Unlimited in 2018 and acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), CA, USA.

In addition to SFMOMA, Subotzky’s photographs can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York City, NY, USA; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, USA; the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town; the Johannesburg Art Museum; and in Sir Elton John’s private photography collection.


Aspire Art, Cape Town, 30 September 2021, lot 91.

Private Collection.


Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, Beaufort West, August 2007, another example from the edition exhibited.

FOAM (Foto Museum Amsterdam), Amsterdam, 21 September to 11 November 2007, another example from the edition exhibited.

Studio La Citta, Verona, Beaufort West, 1 December 2007 to 26 January 2008, another example from the edition exhibited.

Museum of Modern Art, New York, Beaufort West (in New Photography 2008: Josephine Meckseper and Mikhael Subotzky), 10 September 2008 to 12 January 2009, another example from the edition exhibited.


M Subotzky and J Steinberg (2008) Beaufort West, London: Chris Boot Ltd, illustrated in colour on page 67.

View all Mikhael Subotzky lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
Lunga Ntila; Cellophone III
Lunga Ntila
Cellophone III
ZAR 30 000 - 50 000
Cyrus Kabiru; Macho Nne 07 (Ireland Mask)
Cyrus Kabiru
Macho Nne 07 (Ireland Mask)
ZAR 50 000 - 70 000
Pierre-Christophe Gam; Blue, Affogbolo series
Pierre-Christophe Gam
Blue, Affogbolo series
ZAR 60 000 - 80 000
Pierre-Christophe Gam; Kolade, Affogbolo series
Pierre-Christophe Gam
Kolade, Affogbolo series
ZAR 50 000 - 70 000
Robin Rhode; Pascal's Plates
Robin Rhode
Pascal's Plates
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Athi-Patra Ruga; Night of the Long Knives IV
Athi-Patra Ruga
Night of the Long Knives IV
ZAR 300 000 - 500 000