Shaka signed 'Skotnes' (lower right) painting on incised panel 76 x 60cm (29 15/16 x 23 5/8in).
The present lot dates from circa 1972, when the artist was working on the Shaka Epic. This series engrossed Skotnes and he worked on the project for over fifteen months, making drawings, studies and the one hundred and fifty blocks needed for printing.
Shaka Zulu (c.1787-1828) was the most famous and influential Zulu king who, by the end of his ten year reign, ruled over 250,000 people. He was a military genius who also is revered as the founder of the Zulu nation; he was assassinated by his two half-brothers Dingane and Mhlangana at the height of his powers.
The artist said of his subject: "I was totally absorbed by the man and loved him as I probed his story. He seemed to laugh at civilization as we know it. He indicated that the new Africa would take what it wanted from our world and use it for its own purposes".
A similar work U Shaka hangs in the collection of the Pretoria Art Museum (illustrated in Harmsen, 1996, p.33).
BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Harmsen (ed.), Cecil Skotnes, (Cape Town, 1996)