Colbert Mashile Lithographs

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The Harvester Lithographs

Mashile is clear in his views of what South Africa has and has not achieved since 1994 and despairs at the socio-political and socio-economic realities of the country. He is keenly aware of the hypocrisy of the country’s leadership and is troubled by the continued poverty and inequality that is still so much in evidence. In these prints, Mashile examines the relationship between media, aspiration and consumption and those who struggle to survive on the edges of urban life. The images focus on waste pickers who inadvertently take care of the environment by recycling what the wealthy discard. The animal shadow suggests an alter ego.

A human figure, with baboon shadow dragging recycling trolley with random media text and letters.

Title: The Harvester I
Medium: Seven colour lithograph
Paper size: 50 x 40 cm
Image size: 38 x 30 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 4 335 (excl.VAT)


Bent over man with goat shadow pulling a recycling trolley with snippets of newspaper text.

Title: The Harvester II
Medium: Seven colour lithograph
Paper size: 50 x 40 cm
Image size: 38 x 30 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 4 335 (excl.VAT)


Upright man with a rabbit shadow carrying a load and pulling recycling trolley, text above trolley.

Title: The Harvester III
Medium: Six colour lithograph
Paper size: 50 x 40 cm
Image size: 38 x 30 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 4 335 (excl.VAT)


 Returning Lithographs

Seven patterned cloaked figures forming a semi-circle around a human skull on the ground with mountain backdrop.

Title: At last
Medium: Nine colour lithograph
Paper size: 76.8 x 57.5 cm
Image size: 50 x 70 cm
Edition size: 30
Price: R 7 020 (excl.VAT)

Two cloaked figures with a single shadow standing next to each other in a patterned enclosure

Title: Wabararo-ke-mpheane (three's a crowd)
Medium: Eleven colour lithograph
Paper size: 76.8 x 57.5 cm
Image size: 50 x 70 cm
Edition size: 30
Price: R 7 020 (excl.VAT)

Theatre Lithographs

Colbert Mashile worked on the plates for these prints in February 2008. He explains " I got the theatre idea from collaborating with a young writer from the USA, usually I do not use text in my work. I am playing around with social and political commentary, but the dialogue has little to do with the images." Colbert Mashile's reluctance to be prescriptive about his work carries through to these prints. It also enables the prints to have meaning beyond the narrow time frame of the period that he worked on them.

The prints were done around the time that Mugabe's total grip on power was unravelling and while South Africa was dealing the collapse of President Mbeki's presidency, and xenophobia was starting to boil into toxic chaos. In the prints, Colbert Mashile passes comment on southern African politics and social issues but the "players in the plays do not have specific identities in order to universalise them. The dialogue almost comes from outside as if from you, the viewer. It is open-ended everyday dialogue, these are random images and each print is isolated from the other, they are not part of a conclusive story; rather they are like some absurd performance drawn from real life. I like the comical aspects, the ridiculousness of the images which are at the same time deadly serious."

These figures are set in landscapes that capture aspects of the Lowveld where Mashile grew up. The plains dotted with acacia trees, the distant mountains and huge domes of granite. "The land is very spiritual for me. It is where people find their groundedness. Nature reminds us to be humble and to work within its sphere." All the performances are played out in the field so to speak. The images show how severed contemporary politicians are from their roots and the limits of the fragile eco-systems that they live in.

Three figures standing on a raised circular platform. The middle one is a skeleton.

Title: The Presentation
Medium: Six colour lithograph
Paper size: 66 x 50.5 cm
Image size: 56 x 43 cm
Edition size: 25
Price: R 4 985 (excl.VAT)

Text on print reads:
O: Stand still, your bones are rattling and I can't stand it.
P:Tell him O, he drives me insane, lest I wack him.
JJ: Pardon me my friends. I just heard terrible news.
O: What? don't start
JJ: Yeah... I just heard that nothing will rot anymore.

Suited man beating a beast with a creature on its back, both on a raised plinth.

Title: The Confrontation
Medium: Nine colour lithograph
Paper size: 66 x 50.5 cm
Image size: 56 x 43 cm
Edition size: 25
Price: R 4 985 (excl.VAT)

Text on print reads:
Zim-man: Please budge, I've been working hard on you. Why do you choose to embarass me
Zim-beast: Say my name, then I will budge and make you the man. And when your bones are flaking, generations will still revere your hard work on my ass
Zim-man: I dont know your name
Zim-beast: Don't you read; don't you ever read? Sorry on you

A pregnant human skeleton figure standing alongside a goat-headed human on cut off cone, landscape in background

Title: The Question
Medium: Nine colour lithograph
Paper size: 66 x 50.5 cm
Image size: 56 x 43 cm
Edition size: 25
Price: R 4 985 (excl.VAT)

Text on print reads:
M: why me? not this time; and so I say again. Not me. Why me always
W: It's red and you eat red meat; what were you thinking
M: No, not again. How many times now?
W: OH MY POOR DEAD HUSBAND How HE warned me not to love a FOOL!!


A bovine creature carrying another bovine creature on its back, standing in front of a patterned wall

Title: The Sacrifice
Medium: Six colour lithograph
Paper size: 66 x 50.5 cm
Image size: 56 x 43 cm
Edition size: 25
Price: R 4 985 (excl.VAT)

Text on print reads:
S: If need be, I can carry you between Tigris and Euphrates
M: S, you are my best friend
S: I can't help it, it's in my nature, yeah.....my very nature, to the core, yeah....

Two human figures roped together and facing opposite directions set in a landscape with two vultures.

Title: The Barometer
Medium: Nine colour lithograph
Paper size: 66 x 50.5 cm
Image size: 56 x 43 cm
Edition size: 25
Price: R 4 985 (excl.VAT)


Text on print reads:
DD: Awake BJ, dinner is about to present itself
BJ: Present itself, in what form?
DD: Eloped and captured minister of something being dragged back to her official residential quarters

First Lithographs

The first series of lithographs done by Colbert Mashile which includes four sketches of his wife Merol.

Five figures in a rectangular trolley with a crouched human form on the side.

Title: Korama (Kneel)
Medium: Six colour lithograph
Size: 65 x 50 cm
Edition size: 40
Price: R 5 330 (excl.VAT)

Two human forms lying over and within a square stand on wheels set in landscape with cloud

Title: Kwaela (Facing Up)
Medium: Six colour lithograph
Size: 65 x 50 cm
Edition size: 40
Price: R 5 330 (excl.VAT)

Figure in trolley behind a man with hands outstretched reaching towards mythical figure above them.

Title: Motshwara Teo (The one who leads the plough)
Medium: Six colour lithograph
Size: 65 x 50 cm
Edition size: 40
Price: R 5 330 (excl.VAT)

Six figures seated in a rectangular wheeled box being stopped by horned figure facing them.

Title: Mothiba Tsela (Road Blocker)
Medium: Six colour lithograph
Size: 50 x 65 cm
Edition size: 40
Price: R 5 330 (excl.VAT)

Two human figures with abstracted headdresses standing in a vast landscape.

Title: Bagwera (Initiates)
Medium: single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 3 665 (excl.VAT). Only one print left for sale from this edition.

Two decorated plinth forms with human figures in circular areas on the tops.

Title: Kotsi (Danger)
Medium: Single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 3 665 (excl.VAT)

Statuesque human head form with tiny legs placed in a barren landscape.

Title: Gunyula (Gunyula is a pet name for a mischievous boy or young man, somebody known by the whole village as a rabble-rouser and who seems to be intolerant to pain caused by punishment).
Medium: Single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 3 665 (excl.VAT)

Two figures standing in a bowl of water set in a vast landscape.

Title: Bodibeng (The Fountain)
Medium: Single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 20
SOLD OUT

Large donkey-like creature extending beyond the frame with five human forms on its back.

Title: Pokolo (Donkey)
Medium: Single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 20
Price: R 3 665 (excl.VAT) Only one print left for sale from this edition.

Woman seen from the back looking at her face in a mirror

Title: Merol Making Up
Medium: Single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 15
Price: R 2 400 (excl.VAT)

Seated woman with head in her hands with a floral patterned background.

Title: Merol Pondering
Medium: Single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 15
Price: R 2 400 (excl.VAT)

A woman seated in a chair with arms folded facing the viewer

Title: Merol Seated
Medium: Single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 15
Price: R 2 400 (excl.VAT)

Resting woman's head and shoulders with her hand covering her eyes.

Title: Boroko (Rest)
Medium: Single colour chine collé lithograph
Size: 49 x 38 cm
Edition size: 15
Price: R 2 400 (excl.VAT)

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