The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2022 Benefit Auction | Hosted by Sotheby’s

The Norval Sovereign African Art Prize 2022 Benefit Auction | Hosted by Sotheby’s

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 15. Holy Bible         .

Willie Bester

Holy Bible

Lot Closed

February 22, 05:15 PM GMT


12,000 - 18,000 USD

Lot Details


Willie Bester

South African


Holy Bible

signed and dated 2020 (lower left)

mixed media (wall installation)

87 by 62 by 10cm., 34¼ by 24½ by 4in.

Please be aware of the Conditions of Sale when bidding. As a benefit auction, there is no buyer’s premium charged. The only additional costs due to the winning bidder are applicable sales tax and shipping. Works auctioned are sold “as is,” and condition reports are included with lot descriptions as available. In-person previews of the auction artwork will be available at Norval Foundation at 4 Steenberg Rd, Tokai, Cape Town, 7945, South Africa from 26 January – 22 February, Monday to Sundays 9 AM – 5:00 PM (Closed on Tuesdays). Please note that while this auction is hosted on, it is being administered by Norval Foundation (“the museum”), and all post-sale matters (inclusive of invoicing and property pickup/shipment) will be handled by the museum. As such, Sotheby’s will share the contact details for the winning bidders with the museum so that they may be in touch directly post-sale.

This work has been kindly donated by the artist

Willie Bester (b. 1956, South Africa) is cited globally as one of South Africa's most important resistance artists. He incorporates recycled material into his paintings, assemblages and sculpture, creating powerful artworks that speak against political, social and economic injustice. Mixed-media acts as the line between reality and imagination, in the sense of bringing an idea or a narrative that was repressed back to life. Abruptly this interchange between the two ‘worlds’ becomes the relationship that is very much dependent on each other. Resulting in the gap between the unconscious and conscious mind becoming blurred. 


Holy Bible incorporates two childhood shoes juxtaposed with a broken typewriter. Bester uses the fragility of nostalgia as a signifier of the fragility of the mind of a child and the dangers of complacency in accepting without interrogation. The glass and frame that fastened this composition is labelled as the Holy Bible. By using the nostalgia of an object and its historical significance, Bester challenges the viewer to query memories and understandings that are assumed.