Siyakhula Michaelis Auction
Left: Donna Kukama, Se Sa Feleng … (3), 2012 Right: Siwa Mgoboza, Les Êtres D’Africadia V Libertina La Reina, 2015

Artwork from leading contemporary South African artists will be auctioned at the Siyakhula Michaelis Auction on October 17 in support of art scholarships for promising students.

The cost of a tertiary art education can be prohibitive for students from historically disadvantaged communities. To help support students who show artistic potential, and to ensure the next generation of South African artists is truly representative of our nation, the Siyakhula Michaelis Auction has been initiated by Berni Searle. As Searle, a respected artist and the Director of the University of Cape Town’s Michaelis School of Fine Art as well as one of its Master of Fine Art alumni, explains:

“Since assuming the role of Director of the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town in 2017, I committed myself to creating opportunities and processes to ensure greater access and diversity of students within our department.

This imperative was made more urgent in the wake of the #FeesMustFall movement, which highlighted the correlation between an institutional deficit in terms of racial diversity and a lack of funding for poorer students. This, along with a decline in government funding for higher education, has impeded transformation not only within universities but has deepened racial inequality in our country.”

Siyakhula Michaelis Auction
Left: Michael Taylor, Halloween Love Seat, 2018 Right: Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, the cleaves and shoots are dark pink, 2018

The isiXhosa word ‘Siyakhula’ means ‘together we grow’, so it’s fitting that many of the artists whose work will be auctioned off are themselves Michaelis graduates and/or faculty members.

Siyakhula Michaelis Auction
Deborah Poynton, Undergrowth 4 (from the Picnic series), 2016

Graduates include Nandipha Mntambo, Ed Young, Hasan & Husain Essop, Georgina Gratrix, Dan Halter, Mikhael Subotzky, Buhlebezwe Siwani, Ruby Swinney and Gerald Machona among others. Faculty members include Jane Alexander, Stephen Inggs, Berni Searle and Pippa Skotnes.

Siyakhula Michaelis Auction
Left: John Murray, Unwind, 2018 Right: Pippa Skotnes, Book of the Divine Consolation (from the Book of Iterations series), 2004 – 2018

Other exciting artists featured include Athi-Patra Ruga whose first major solo UK show is currently running at Somerset House in London, William Kentridge, photographer and Die Antwood collaborator Roger Ballen, the late David Goldblatt, Guy Tillim, Sue Williamson, Penny Siopis and Moshekwa Langa.

Siyakhula Michaelis Auction
Roger Ballen, Yo-landi with Rats, 2012

With the burgeoning global demand for contemporary art from the continent, this is an ideal opportunity for investors and collectors to make a savvy purchase that’ll also help ensure South Africa continues to produce world-class artists.

The live Siyakhula Michaelis Auction, administered pro-bono by Aspire Art Auctions, will take place at Hiddingh Hall on the Michaelis campus on October 17 at 6:30pm and the online auction is currently running here. You can view the online catalogue here.