The gavel has fallen on the final lot of the 2023 ArtAngels Charity Art Auction, with a remarkable R6.1 million generated in support of learner education, youth development and the visual arts across South Africa.

ArtAngels 2023 bunny statue

The ArtAngels auction was first held in 2011, and in the years since it has become an annual highlight on the Ellerman House social calendar; an opportunity for friends and guests – both past and present – of Ellerman House to come together and celebrate African creativity in support of a worthy cause.

This year the proceeds from the ArtAngels auction will be used to support the work of two remarkable charity organisations: R570 000 will be donated to The Blessing Ngobeni Art Prize and The Ruth Prowse School of Art, while R5.5-million will be channelled to Click Learning, a pioneering non-profit organisation working with under-resourced schools across four South African provinces. Using online educational programmes Click Learning improves foundational literacy, numeracy and digital skills amongst both primary and secondary school learners.

“With more than 80 percent of 10-year-old learners not able to read for meaning, South Africa faces enormous educational challenges,” says Nicola Harris, founder of Click Learning. “Many of our schools are severely under-resourced when it comes to both technology and human capital, but by supporting these schools with device hardware, Internet connectivity and self-paced individualised learning software, along with facilitator and learning support, Click Learning has already been able to help more than 200 000 learners.”

“With education and upliftment a core pillar of the Ellerman House corporate social responsibility programme, we were honoured to host the ArtAngels auction again,” adds Carol Kohne, CEO of Ellerman House. “This year’s event was a huge success, and it is incredibly special to be part of something that has such a far-reaching impact across our country. We are immensely grateful to all of the artists, curators and galleries involved for contributing to such an impressive auction catalogue.”

In the 2023 auction 40 remarkable works from both established and ascendant South African artists – across canvas, sculpture and mixed media – went under the gavel, with considerable interest from both auction guests and online bidders. This was the first year that guests not attending could register and bid online, in real-time, adding another layer of excitement in the bidding to own one of these notable artworks.

Highlights of the auction were the ‘Nathi at one of those restaurants that serve bad food but have a stunning interior’ by Dada Khanyisa, which eventually fell for R310,000 as well as the ‘Tshukudu Njana, Udula (Maquette)’ by Angus Taylor, which reached a remarkable price of R600,000. A surprise star of the show was ‘Portrait 29,’ by the up-and-coming artist Brett Charles Seiler, which eventually sold for an impressive R85,000.

ArtAngels 2023 rhino statue

While the 2023 ArtAngels was a resounding success, the focus now shifts to planning next year’s event, to further support Click Learning’s much-needed work on the ground.

“By 2025 we aim to have reached one million learners, teaching them to read for meaning and calculate with confidence by 2030,” adds Harris. “It’s an ambitious goal, but with the support of events like ArtAngels, and the generosity of guests and friends of Ellerman House, I have no doubt we will be able to reach it.”

ArtAngels 2023 auction site aerial view

ArtAngels 2023 auction music entertainment

ArtAngels 2023 art section

ArtAngels 2023 rhino statue night time

ArtAngels 2023 group photo

ArtAngels 2023 art section side view

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