Single Owner Collection being auctioned this October
By CityLife Arts Writer
One of the most prominent political and business families’s collection goes under the hammer this October.
“Aspire Art Auctions is proud to announce a landmark sale of modern and contemporary art from the collection of Nwabisa Xayiya. This October, Aspire Art Auctions is honoured to present Art, Life and Love: The Collection of Nwabisa Xayiya, a single owner auction showcasing the cultivated taste and style of Nwabisa Xayiya,” the auction house announced in a statement.
Nwabisa Xayiya was, over the past decade, a leading figure amongst Johannesburg’s most noteworthy art collectors, art industry influencers and socialites. She was an inspirational voice within a new generation of art collectors looking to transform and grow the contemporary art market by enlarging the space and growing the positive influence that collectors have in our society.
And yet, despite her public profile and visible support for the arts, the treasures of Nwabisa Xayiya’s own private collection have remained, until now, largely unknown. Aspire Art Auctions’ exhibition and sale of the collection will represent, for many, the first opportunity to appreciate the exceptional calibre and scope of the collection of a woman who, whether for art, design, or fashion, had ‘a keen eye and a sense of style.’
Comprising about 300 treasured examples of modern and contemporary art, the sale is underscored by a story of commitment and passion for art, and the companionship in collecting between Nwabisa and her husband Mikki Xayiya.
This repository of exquisite South African, African, and international art celebrates the art, life and love of Nwabisa who tragically passed away in May 2021 after a brave fight against cancer. Together with her husband they built a life that was shaped by the artistic energy of a country in which they were cherished patrons and influential art collectors.
The auction will offer best of class examples by great modernists as well as exciting contemporary pieces. Notable is a selection of work by painter George Pemba, whose brilliant palette held a special place in Nwabisa’s heart. There is also a set of impressive urban scenes and portraits by Gerard Sekoto and a rarely seen Alexis Preller, a glorious Robert Hodgins, and varied examples of Dumile Feni’s early work along with others from his later New York period.
Within the contemporary offering, there are outstanding works by Blessing Ngobeni, Sam Nhlengethwa, William Kentridge, Teresa Firmino, Athi-Patra Ruga, Kudzanai Chiurai, Nelson Makamo, Owusu-Ankomahand Nicholas Hlobo, amongst others.
The auction will also offer great sculptural pieces by Deborah Bell alongside works by pioneering modernist sculptors including Edoardo Villa, Ezrom Legae and Sydney Kumalo, amongst others.
Opening with a private event on the evening of Monday 25 October – on what would have been Nwabisa’s 40th birthday – Art, Life and Love: The Collection of Nwabisa Xayiya, will open to the public at the Xayiya House in Houghton, Johannesburg from Saturday 23 October culminating in a Live auction, at the premises, on Sunday 31 October 2021 at 11am. Art lovers, collectors and all those who appreciate their culture and legacy, are invited to visit the preview on a by appointment basis and see the remarkable collection.
The full auction collection will be divided into two parts, giving bidders two separate opportunities to participate in the auction. The Live Auction will see 100 lots of exclusive highlights from the collection included in a catalogue sale going under the hammer in a live, physical and live-streamed auction on Sunday 31 October 2021 at 11am, and the remainder of the collection will be included in an Online-only Auction opening on Wednesday 20 October and closing on Monday 1 November from 6pm (lots will close in 30-second intervals).
ABOUT MIKKI AND NWABISA XAYIYA
Mikki Xayiya’s a South African luminary who was amongst an important generation of people who dedicated their lives to the struggle for freedom — a course for which he was, in 1984, sent to prison on Robben Island alongside Nelson Mandela and others, before being released in 1990 as apartheid began to fall. Mikki Xayiya served as political advisor to the first premier of Gauteng, Tokyo Sexwale, from 1994 to 1997. Together with Sexwale, they co-founded Mvelaphanda Investment Holdings, marking his entry into the world of business. He has been a key collector and art patron since then.
Nwabisa Xayiya was, over the past decade, a leading figure amongst Johannesburg’s most noteworthy art collectors, industry influencers and socialites. She was an inspirational voice within a new generation of art collectors looking to transform and grow the contemporary art market by enlarging the space and growing the positive influence that collectors have in our society.