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 158 700
Lot 67
  • Lawrence 'Shabu' Mwangi; Empty Souls Dressed In Suits
  • Lawrence 'Shabu' Mwangi; Empty Souls Dressed In Suits

Lot Estimate
ZAR 120 000 - 140 000
VAT is charged on both hammer & premium for daggered lots
Selling Price
Incl. Buyer's Premium & VAT
ZAR 158 700

About this Item

Kenyan 1985-
Empty Souls Dressed In Suits

signed and dated 2021

oil on canvas
132,5 by 133,5 by 2,5cm, unframed


Lawrence 'Shabu' Mwangi has been a practicing artist since 2003. His practice focuses on the effects of structural and historical violence, and different forms of marginalization on the individual and collective psyche. His paintings are considerations of societal and cultural fissures. His most recent work traces an ongoing personal journey of striving to understand the balance between the two things that drive us, love and pain, and how we react in different ways depending on which of the two is dominant. Mwangi’s work has previously dealt with questions of collective suffering, and the effects that inequality, marginalization, and other forms of structural violence have on communities. In this new body of work, he has turned his gaze inwards, focusing on an examination of the self. He asks himself questions about how he sees the people around him and his interactions with them.

Mwangi has participated in workshops and residency programs both locally and internationally. His work has most recently featured in Systems of Emptiness, a prelude to Documenta15, a group show with Wajukuu and The Sources of Our Seas, a solo show at Circle Art Gallery in 2021; East African Encounters, a Circle Art Gallery group exhibition at Cromwell Place in London in 2021, and Self-Addressed, an exhibition of self-portraiture by artists from Africa and its diaspora curated by Kehinde Wiley for Deitch Projects LA. Other shows include The Man with Two Shadows (2020), an online exhibition with Circle Art Gallery; Yawning for Power (2019), a solo exhibition with Tilleard Projects; The Stateless, a solo exhibition at Circle Art Gallery (2018); Freedom, Flight, Refuge, Circle Art Gallery (2017); Art Transposition Nairobi-Kampala-Hamburg, LKB Gallery, Hamburg; Pop-Up Africa, GAFRA, London (2017); and Out of the Slum (2012), Essen, Germany. He has also participated in residencies in Kenya, Germany, and Italy. In 2022, Mwangi and fellow members of the Wajukuu Art Project participated in documenta fifteen in Kassel, where they went on to win the Arnold Bode prize. Mwangi participated in the 13a Biennial do Mercosul in Brazil in 2022.

The artist currently lives in Nairobi.

Biography courtesy of Circle Art Gallery.


Circle Art Gallery, Nairobi, 2023.

View all Lawrence 'Shabu' Mwangi lots for sale in this auction

Other lots that might interest you
Richard Mudariki; The Last Judgement
Richard Mudariki
The Last Judgement
ZAR 150 000 - 200 000
Lwando Dlamini; Makhulu
Lwando Dlamini
ZAR 40 000 - 60 000
Nermine Hammam; Destroyer of Manifest
Nermine Hammam
Destroyer of Manifest
ZAR 70 000 - 90 000
Nermine Hammam; Posturing Bravado
Nermine Hammam
Posturing Bravado
ZAR 70 000 - 90 000
Hussein Salim; Alsahara
Hussein Salim
ZAR 90 000 - 120 000
Sane Wadu; Self Portrait as Fisherman
Sane Wadu
Self Portrait as Fisherman
ZAR 60 000 - 80 000