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"It is the content and task of my collection to document and appreciate the beginning and early days of modern art in Africa after the colonial era."


As early as 1969, the journalist Gunter Péus (born 1931) went to Nairobi as ZDF's first Africa correspondent.


While traveling from there to the hotspots of political, social and cultural events south of the Sahara for more than 14 years, he began to acquire the work of local artists. The decision to collect their art methodically led to the realization that they had an unrepeatable opportunity: to collect and preserve the works of artists of the first post-colonial generation. He found them in markets, in studios, in galleries and cultural institutes. 


The journalistic reporting also took him to the countries in which art centers were forming: in Nigeria, scene of the Biafra War, the Oshogbo school experienced its heyday with the artist Twins Seven-Seven and developed around the country's major trading centers the genre of sign painters.


In Mozambique, where the FRELIMO liberation movement fought against the Renamo rebels after independence from Portugal, Gunter Péus met the important painter Malangatana Valente Ngwenya. In Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, he acquired early sculptures by the Shona sculptors. In Tanzania, ruled liberally by Julius Nyerere, he encountered the Makonde carvers who had fled Mozambique. Before and after the riots in Soweto, the collector acquired works by then-unknown artists from the townships of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, such as Leonard Matsoso.

And based in Nairobi, he has followed the work of individual talent such as Jak Katarikawe, Sane Wadu, Ancent Soi and Rosemary Karuga, among others, through the established Watatu Gallery.


As a collector from the very beginning, he was able to build up an important collection of contemporary African art by the early 1990s.

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