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Lot 46*
Gerard Sekoto
(South African, 1913-1993)
The Kitchen Table

Sold for £ 158,500 (US$ 197,648) inc. premium
Gerard Sekoto (South African, 1913-1993)
The Kitchen Table
signed 'G. SEKOTO' (lower left)
oil on canvas
36 x 46cm (14 3/16 x 18 1/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Dr Solly & Advocate Hilda Ellison, Johannesburg, circa 1950.
    Thence by descent to the present owner.

    Gerard Sekoto is not generally grouped with the resistance artists who emerged under apartheid. Yet, his art does reflect the hardship black South Africans suffered during this period. The present lot depicts a kitchen interior of a shanty in Sophiatown. As Johannesburg industrialised, a number of shanties developed as a result of the expanding population. Several families were often crowded into a single dwelling; a single tap of water could be shared by as many as forty.

    Sekoto's domestic scene highlights the inhumanity of such conditions; the kitchen is both dark and claustrophobic. At the same time the work conveys intimacy. The black occupants are portrayed with dignity and respect, engaging in normal habitual conversation.

    Sekoto's unique skill as an artist lay in his ability to convey the human drama behind such domestic scenes. This work reveals more than a simple kitchen interior; it expresses the deep familial bond that exists between the sitters. By emphasising their humanity, Sekoto encourages us to empathise with these figures and recognise the injustice of their current situation.

    Bibliography
    N. Mandela, A Long Walk to Freedom, Great Britain, 1994, pp.178-9.
    M.J. Daroll, Meet me Half Way: The Space between the text and image in Song for Sekoto: Wits Art Museum, B. Lindop & C. Reid (eds.), Johannesburg, 2013, pp.22-30.
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