Pieter Hugo's Hyena Men photograph to auction at Phillips

Pieter Hugo's Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara from his acclaimed Hyena Men series is to auction.

The lot is to feature in a major photography sale at Phillips London with a valuation of £25,000-45,000 ($38,630-69,534).

Hyena Men Phillips
Pieter Hugo is a South African artist

It's one of two artist's proofs from an edition of nine prints.

The Hyena men of Nigeria are famous throughout the world for performing with extremely dangerous wild animals, including pythons and baboons.  

Hugo described how he came across his subject: "In Abuja we found them living on the periphery of the city in a shantytown - a group of men, a little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys and a few rock pythons.

"It turned out that they were a group of itinerant minstrels, performers who used the animals to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicines.

"The animal handlers were all related to each other and were practising a tradition passed down from generation to generation. I spent eight days travelling with them."

Another photograph from the series sold for $43,750 at Sotheby's New York in 2013.

The auction also includes work from Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe.

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