Lucas Tandokwazi Sithole (South African, 1931-1994)
'They are my best friends' signed 'L.T. SITHOLE' (to base) Zulu mahogany on liquid steel base 145 x 18 x 20cm (57 1/16 x 7 1/16 x 7 7/8in).
PROVENANCE Private Collection, UK Private Collection, Johannesburg, 1983 With Gallery 21, Johannesburg
EXHIBITED Johannesburg, Gallery 21, The Nude in 21, June 1983, no.43
LITERATURE The Star, Johannesburg, Gallery 21:The Nude, 17 June 1983
The above work is listed on Fernand Haenggi's online catalogue raisonné (www.sithole.com) as LS8306.
Lucas Sithole's sculptures, particularly his figurative human pieces are eloquent expressions of universal humanity, while at the same time they grasp the inherent qualities of a traditional Africa and a cultural Africa. Wild creatures and his fellow men are transformed and reconstructed into simplified, semi-abstract and extraordinary shapes, emanating a striking vitality. Sithole's art is based on strong social realism and the understanding of the dilemma of modern man. His sculptures are notably sensitive, particularly his human figures, which are rendered depicting profound tenderness, warmth and sympathy.
Although Sithole's favourite materials for sculpture included hard woods, stone and liquid steel, his human figures are mostly carved from wood and are strongly indigenous in form. The medium and technique lend themselves ideally to Sithole's graceful representation of the human condition. A mystic aura which is infused with simplicity and strength - a symbolic expression of emotion and feeling which is characteristic of African ritual, coalesce and form the basis of Sithole's human figures.
This photograph from The Star of 17 June 1983 shows the opening of The Nude in 21, in which Lucas Sithole's They are my best friends was included in the exhibition hosted by Gallery 21.
We are grateful to Fernand F. Haenggi of The Haenggi Foundation Inc. for his permission to reproduce the image in the above footnote.
BIBLIOGRAPHY E.J. De Jager, Art Scene: Lucas Sithole, article in South African Panorama , (Pretoria, August 1975), p.1