Revere Auctions
Live Auction

Revere Auctions Fine Art Evening Sale

Wed, Mar 20, 2024 08:00PM EDT
Lot 57

Athi-Patra Ruga "Manifest Destiny/Autistic Empire"

Estimate: $15,000 - $30,000

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$50,000 $5,000
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$1,000,000 $50,000
$10,000,000 $100,000
Athi-Patra Ruga (South African, b. 1984). Wool and thread on tapestry canvas titled "Lizalis Indinga Lakho/Autistik Imperium (Manifest Destiny/Autistic Empire)" depicting four figures surrounded by cheetahs, a blue crane, and tropical plants, 2017. Signed along the left edge along the verso.

Provenance: The artist via WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa; Private Minnesota Collection.

Exhibition: WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery, “Queens in Exile 2014–2017," 2017.

Lot Essay:
Athi-Patra Ruga often explores themes of gender, sexuality, culture, and ideology in his multi-media works. Themes of sexuality, HIV/AIDS, African culture, and queerness in post-apartheid South Africa are recurrent in his works. They often raise questions about public spaces, the body in relation to these spaces, and what is "normal."

The present work was the headliner for his "Queens in Exile 2014-2017" show exhibited at WHATIFTHEWORLD Gallery in 2017. The work was featured in ArtForum in March 2018. The tapestry is based on a cartoon drawn by Ruga and was collaboratively embroidered by the artist and three assistants. Seated on a peacock chair, referencing a 1967 photo of Huey P. Newton, is Her Majesty the Versatile Queen Ivy. Her face is based on the only photo Ruga possesses of his maternal grandmother, Nompuku Millie Ngalonkulu. In her head is the decapitated head of The Elder, a character from earlier exhibitions of Ruga's. On bent knees in front of this character is a comic book mummy, the Walking Wound, a recurring motif representing corporeal trauma.

Height: 16 ft 5 in x width: 13 ft 2 in.


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