Wonder Buhle Mbambo - Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Charity Auction London Monday, March 15, 2021 | Phillips
  • Description

    Condition reports, Lot descriptions and information in respect of Lots included in this Online-Only Auction have been prepared exclusively by Whitechapel Gallery following Whitechapel Gallery’s assessment of the Lots. Phillips and its staff are not responsible in any way for such statements, representations or opinions or for any other information provided in respect of the Lots, whether by Whitechapel Gallery, on Phillips website or in any other form.

  • Provenance

    Donation courtesy of the artist and Ross-Sutton Gallery

  • Catalogue Essay

    In Wonder Buhle Mbambo’s striking painting This is For Where I am From, realism collides with the surreal nature of dreams and abstract thought. The figure’s radiant hair, bright teeth and decorated shirt shine against the deep darkness of the background. With nothing separating the colour of the figure’s skin and the background, this painting recalls Kerry James Marshall’s famous Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self (1980), a small work depicting a nearly invisible black man, dressed in black over a black background.

    Mbmabo’s portraits are deeply personal responses to his life and consider intergenerational relationships in contemporary Zulu communities. Common to all of his paintings is a spare, single –coloured background and the star-flower motif, here magically appearing on the skin of his sitter. Devoid of objects or architecture, sitters exist in illusory spaces where realism and spirituality coalesce. The flowers reference a particular flower in South Africa which, when burned, serves as a medium to communicate with ancestors.

    Wonder Buhle Mbambo (b. 1989) is a South African artist living and working in Durban, South Africa. He received his formal training from the BAT Centre visual arts residency program in Durban (2010) and the Velobala Apprenticeship Program at the Durban University of Technology (2011-2013). International exhibitions of his work include Michaelis Gallery, Cape Town (2017), Durban Art Gallery (2018), The Art House, Wakefield (2018), and Unit London, London, (2020), Say it Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud), curated by Destinee Ross-Sutton at Christie’s, New York (2020). He has been the recipient of numerous international artist residencies, including the Bremer Kunststipendium Art Grant, 2016, the Royal Overseas League Scholarship to become at Artist in Residence at The Art House in Wakefield, UK (2018), The La Brea Studio Artist Residency, Los Angeles (2020).


This is For Where I am From

signed, titled and dated '“This is For Where I am From” 2021 Wonder Buhle' on the reverse
acrylic and metallic paint on unstretched canvas
151 x 125 cm (59 1/2 x 49 1/4 in.)
Painted in 2021.

£8,000 - 12,000 


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Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Charity Auction

Online Auction 15 - 23 March 2021