Augustino Malaba (Tanzanian, 1949 – 2021)
Untitled (Jando), 1998 & Untitled (Musician), 2001
Both signed ‘Malaba’ (lower left)
Woodcut prints on paper, ed 2/5 & ed 4/5
31.5 x 34.5 cm & 25.4 x 19.2 cm (print dimensions)
Ksh 90,000 – 115,000
(US$) 800 – 1,000
Sold as a pair
Provenance: direct from the artist
Sold Ksh 117,400
In 1972, Augustino Malaba moved from the Mtwara region of southern Tanzania to Dar es Salaam where he became instrumental in the establishment of the collective artist studios and cultural centre, Nyumba ya Sanaa, which was founded by Maryknoll Sister Jean Pruitt. One of the first artists to work at the studios, Malaba invited many others to join, including Robino Ntila and his nephew, George Lilanga. For many years Malaba and Lilanga worked closely alongside one another, training together in Makonde-style carving. Despite not reaching the levels of international exposure that Lilanga enjoyed, Malaba, who passed away early this year, is one of Tanzania’s most beloved Makonde sculptors and master printmakers.
Malaba holds the prestigious Zeze Award, annually given by Mfuko wa Utamaduni, and has featured in publications such as the Smithsonian Libraries African Art Index Project titled Agostino Malaba, Kefa M. Otiso’s Culture and Customs of Tanzania and Tanzania Art Movements authored by George Lilanga, Robino Ntila and Augustino Malaba.
Untitled (Jando), 1998 was acquired by the current owner directly from the artist in 2004. It depicts young men or boys cooking in a secluded, males-only camp known as ‘Jando’, where they are trained and later initiated into manhood in Makonde culture. Traditionally, every male child would go through this stage before becoming a warrior and marrying.
Untitled (Musician), 2001 was acquired from the artist in 2006 and shows a woman playing a traditional stringed instrument (possibly the Zeze) with a young gazelle on her head, later to be eaten as ‘kitoweo’ (translating as a side dish).