Ten of the continent’s greats in the arts, literature and ...

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Ten of the continent’s greats in the arts, literature and architecture

Talented Africans, many of whom are from SA, are enthusing audiences in Mzansi and abroad

Features writer, film and series reviewer

Cinga Samson - visual artist 

Cape Town-born painter Cinga Samson, who grew up in the Eastern Cape, smashed records a few weeks ago when his work, Two Piece 1, sold for $300,000 (about R4,3m) at auction house Phillips’ 20th century and contemporary sale in New York. It’s the culmination of a run of acclaim and international attention the 34-year-old has been enjoying over the past few years. He held his first solo show in New York last year and earned a significant interview in The New York Times. Known for his striking, ethereal and coolly elegant portraits of white-pupiled figures against surreal backgrounds, Samson’s work is deeply influenced by his upbringing near Mthatha.

In his early 20s, he was part of the Isibane artists’ collective in Cape Town, before catching the attention of the influential Blank Projects gallery, where, from 2015, he showed consistently and to much acclaim and interest from collectors, before landing a spot with the prestigious contemporary French art dealer Emmanuel Perrotin, whose New York gallery presented his solo show, Amadoda Akafani, Afana Ngeentshebe Zodwa (Men Are Different Though They Look Alike), last year. He’s now represented worldwide by White Cube in London. Though influenced by the place he comes from, Samson is carving a space for himself on the tough-to-break-into international art scene because of his commitment, as he told The New York Times, to not be “an artist that feeds western fantasies about what Africa is”. ..

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