Bidding for a better future

Art and wine lovers, and people with an eye on gathering once-in-a-lifetime experiences, can start bidding on a catalogue of items and experiences that will go under the hammer to raise funds for the Tutu Legacy Fund, says Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

The live, virtual auction, set to take place on 22 September 2021, is part of the Foundation’s 90@90 campaign. The campaign, which began in 2020, aims to raise R90-million over two years for the Tutu Legacy Fund in Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu’s 90th year, ending on 7 October 2022.

The Tutu Legacy Fund was established to help facilitate the Foundation’s ability to foster a new, inter-generational drive for positive change in Africa and the rest of the world, thereby ensuring that the Archbishop’s legacy of ethical leadership is perpetuated.

“Archbishop Tutu’s principled and courageous leadership gave South Africans hope and courage during apartheid, and it gives us hope and courage today. His example is sorely needed at this complex time in human history,” says Kotecha.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has underlined so much that is wrong with our country and our world, not least inequality and poverty, exacerbated by climate change. Whatever we and the global community chooses next will determine our future in defining ways. We need to choose well, and for that we need the legacy of ethical leadership to become entrenched for now and the future”

Funds raised from the Art for the Arch auction on 22 September 2021 will go towards an exciting new long-term exhibition celebrating the work of Archbishop Tutu, titled Truth to Power, curated in collaboration with the Apartheid Museum, which will open in October 2021. This exhibition forms part of the wider 90@90 campaign.

The hybrid (in-person and online) auction event will comprise two sessions, the first at 3pm, with the evening session taking place at 6pm.

From a breakfast with Professor Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s former Public Protector, and Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba to a print of photographer Jürgen Schadeberg’s famous photograph of Nelson Mandela in his Robben Island cell, this auction has something on offer for everyone.

“It’s wonderful to be able to offer such a wide variety of lots in this exceptional auction. We are honoured to be involved, and we are very grateful to the artists who have donated artworks to the auction,” says Frank Kilbourn, executive chairperson of Strauss & Co.

Works by renowned artists, including a new, limited-edition print by William Kentridge are on auction. Roses in Big Glass (2020) is one of an edition of 30 and is estimated to fetch R100 000 to R150 000. Kentridge is an acclaimed international artist whose work – ranging from etchings to stop-frame video animations – often explores the effects of colonialism on the oppressed.

Cape Town-based artist Barry Jackson’s bronze Dancing Tutu sculpture will go under the hammer along with Esther Mahlangu’s Ndebele Abstract. Jackson is regularly commissioned to produce full-figure sculptures of historical figures and has produced sculptures of Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Oliver Tambo and Louis van Mauritius, a slave in the former Cape Colony who led a rebellion in 1808. Mahlangu, one of South Africa’s most globally recognised artists, explores her Ndebele heritage in her brightly coloured compositions. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Johannesburg for her contribution to South Africa’s cultural heritage.

Archbishop Tutu also features in a painting by artist Charles Foley, who was part of a South African team that won the Cannes Lions Grand Prix award. The work, titled The Spirit of Joy: Tutu and Dalai Lama (2021), depicts the two spiritual leaders’ famous discussions on joy at the Dalai Lama’s residence in Dharamsala, India, in 2015. It was created in response to the South African government’s repeated refusal to grant the Dalai Lama a visa to visit Archbishop Tutu in South Africa.

A very special collaborative work on the sale, Homage to Tutu, was commissioned by Strauss & Co and created by various senior students at Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg. The young artists were encouraged to draw inspiration from The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, co-authored by Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama, and conceptualise the book’s great wisdom in visual form. The large linocut print goes on sale at estimates of R14 000 to 15 000.

Art lovers looking for something unusual to bid on might earmark Turiya Magadlela’s Ubuhle bakho bufana neLanga (Your Beauty Is Like a Rising Sun). This piece (pantyhose on canvas with acrylic gel sealer) was executed in 2018, and is expected to fetch between R80 000 and R120 000.

Other works on auction include Blessing Ngobeni’s Died Digging Gold 1, which has an estimated value of R80 000 to R120 000, Georgina Gratrix’s Ballyhoo Blooms, a colourful still life in oil and glitter on linen, and John Meyer’s landscape, West of Sutherland. Also in the catalogue are Lutanda Zema Luzamba’s Munkoyo, a portrait, and Jake Aikman’s Solace.

These are only a few of more than 100 artworks on auction that have been donated to the Art for the Arch auction.

Other lots include:

  • A fully sponsored stay at a five-star private villa in the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, a pristine wilderness of 2 500ha at Gansbaai, near Hermanus in the Western Cape. The reserve is home to 868 known plant species and guests can enjoy a multitude of experiences, from botanical and river tours to ethical cage diving to see sharks. On auction is a stay in one of the reserve’s two private luxury villas for 10 people for two nights, valued at between R150 000 and R260 000
  • Rare books, such as a signed first edition of the Archbishop’s God Has a Dream (2004); DIGNITY: In Honor of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by Dana Gluckstein; and a signed copy of theologian Michael Battle’s Desmond Tutu: A Spiritual Biography of South Africa’s Confessor
  • Limited-edition prints of cartoons by Jonathan Shapiro, better known as Zapiro, such as The Hole Truth (3/25)
  • Several different lots of La Motte wine and méthode cap classique

Says Kotecha: “I would like to thank all the artists and other donors profusely. Their largesse and willingness via the powerful medium of art pieces which encompasses a broad and powerful range of topics is tremendous.”

Kotecha also thanked the Foundation’s auction partners Strauss & Co. and the Embassy of France in South Africa “The support they have given has simply been wonderful and a boon in this onerous and fulfilling journey. Our gratitude to them is enormous.”

Special thanks go to Dr Paul Bayliss, senior specialist art curator at the Absa Art Gallery, for assisting with the curation for marketing the auction to its stakeholders.

Please join us on 22 September 2021. Bidders can register from 15 September 2021 on the Strauss & Co website: