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Zimbabwean artist sells painting for £163,800

By Tatenda Marwodzi

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Zimbabwean artist, Portia Zvavahera, has set a new record after selling her painting, Arising from the unknown (2019), for a whooping £163,800 at an auction in London.

Her body of work which has been described as “rich, spiritual and emotional,” was originally expected to sell for no more than £60000. To the artist’s delight, the bidding more than doubled the price breaking the record for the emerging artist category.

Portia was born and raised in Zimbabwe and was a resident at the National Art Gallery before moving to South Africa to grow her career.

“I’d been showing my paintings with the National Gallery and Gallery Delta here. But the market in Zimbabwe—it’s not easy to sell unless you go cheaper,” she admitted. With that in mind, she started showcasing her paintings in South African and European markets.

Her work grew in popularity abroad winning her the 2013 Tollman Award for the Visual Arts and the 2014 FNB Art Prize.

Asked about what inspires her “bizarre” paintings, she said “I paint mostly painful moments. It’s like a healing process. My happy moments are difficult to paint with. Sometimes I can paint them, but not very often.”

At the moment, Portia has not shared any details about the new owner of the painting.


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