WhatsApp art auction bags Sh5m

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Art

WhatsApp art auction bags Sh5m


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Peter Ngugi’s Royco Kachumbari painting. PHOTO | POOL

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Summary

  • One Off Gallery’s Carol Lees keeps coming up with clever ways to blend her two passions; art and animals.
  • Last weekend’s TNR WhatsApp Art Auction was the gallery’s third event organised on behalf of the TNR Trust, which neuters and vaccinates dogs against rabies.
  • The artists at the art auction either donated their works or set their prices for the starting bid.

One Off Gallery’s Carol Lees keeps coming up with clever ways to blend her two passions; art and animals. Last weekend’s TNR WhatsApp Art Auction was the gallery’s third event organised on behalf of the TNR Trust, which neuters and vaccinates dogs against rabies.

The artists at the art auction either donated their works or set their prices for the starting bid.

“Not everything submitted was included in the auction,” says Carol.

More than 50 artists took part in the Sunday’s event. Some people showed up at the gallery for the 3pm auction while a majority did bidding on WhatsApp for the 61 pieces at the auction.

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Timothy Brooke’s ‘Migration’ painting. PHOTO | POOL

Peterson Kamwathi’s colour aquatint etchings on paper were starting at Sh20,000. (Ultimately, they were sold for Sh180,000 and Sh120,000 respectively.)

Peter Ngugi’s oil painting entitled ‘Add Royco, Add Kachumbari’ started a little bit higher at Sh180,000. But its final sale was Sh300,000.

Bidding for Fitsum Berhe Woldelibanos’ portrait from his ‘From Tapestries of our Shared Histories IX’ series started at Sh165,000, it sold for Sh360,000.

The top sale was for Timothy Brooke’s ‘Migration II.’ But interestingly enough, its starting bid of Sh450,000 was also the final bid, suggesting that the one bidder knew a work by Brooke normally went for double that price or more.

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Samuel Wanjau ‘Frog’ painting. PHOTO | POOL

There were other artworks that were low priced. That included photography by Betty Press and Heather Wall, mixed media paintings by Shabu Mwangi, Xavier Verhoest, Wanjohi Maina, Olivia Pendergast, Thom Ogonga, and Maggie Otieno among others.

And even sculptures by Anthony Wanjau, Samuel Wanjau, Jr, Wambui Kamiru Collymore, and Joseph Nabster were relatively affordable.

But it was not only painters, print-makers, sculptors, and photographers who responded to Carol’s online call to contribute to the TNR Art Auction.

Furniture maker Marc Van Rampelberg had an elegant ‘Wall Table’ made of Mvuli wood that sold for over Sh100,000 after having a starting bid of Sh30,000. Glass artist Tonney Mugo also brought in a mixed media piece made with glass, metal sheet, resin and polyurethane which was bought at Sh25,000.

The genres of paintings as well as the subjects explored in their work were diverse. Everything from still life, portraiture, landscape, and abstract art were represented.

A central subject in the art show was dogs given that they are the main beneficiaries of the TNR Trust. Cats will also benefit from TNR’s services.

Lockdowns have moved art events online. One Off was able to lay ground rules online before the event itself, people paid up mainly online, and almost all the local and overseas deliveries (and pick-ups) were handled within hours after the auction’s end.

“The auction made over Sh5 million,” says Carol who notes that a percentage will go to the TNR Trust for its mobile clinic which has been travelling to peri-urban areas of Nairobi to vaccinate and neuter or spray dogs.

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