Again, Enwonwu’s ‘Anyanwu’ leads auction sale in Lagos
Another Nigerian record for Ben Enwonwu was achieved during the 18th Arthouse auction of modern and contemporary art for 2017 at Kia Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos, with a total sale of N166,156,000. An iconic bronze titled ‘Anyanwu’ by Enwonwu, dated 1962, according to Arthouse, sold for N54,050,000. Recall that in 2011, the same artist made a record sale of one of the ‘Anyanwu’ bronze editions for over N28 million by Arthouse. A depiction of Igbo sun deity, Enwonwu’s public version of the same work is mounted at the facade of the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.
Other sales at the 18th auction included El Anatsui’s ‘Reflekisi,’ a wood panel from 2017, sold for N16,675,000, and Enwonwu’s ‘Oglo,’ a watercolour on paper, dated 1989 that features a figure wearing an Ogolo mask engaged in vigorous dance movement, sold for N13,800,000. Also included in the list of top sales was a mixed media work by Peju Alatise - an artist who is currently representing Nigeria at the Venice Biennale - sold for N5,175,000, Ben Osawe’s ‘Mask,’ a wood sculpture dated1987, takes inspiration from ancient artefacts from Benin and Gabon and sold for N4,600,000.
The auction, which was supported by Kia Motors, Veuve Clicquot, and Shiro, with official media partner The Guardian, sold four charity lots in support of Arthouse Foundation, a not-for-profit artist residency programme in Lagos. A total sum of N740,000 was raised from the charity lots. Four charity lots from Abiola Idowu, Raoul da Silva, Muraina Olayemi and Stella Yowvr Ubigho were announced for sale ahead of the auction.
“The proceeds from the charity lots will go directly to supporting the Arthouse Foundation’s annual artist residencies,” the auction house assured. At the last auction, five charity lots of works by Bunmi Babatunde, Diseye Tantua, Duke Asidere and Nyemike Onwuka were auctioned.
Founded in 2007, Arthouse Contemporary is an international auction house that specialises in modern and contemporary art from West Africa. With auctions held twice a year in Lagos, Arthouse Contemporary aims to create awareness of the scope of contemporary art in the region, encourage international recognition towards its talented artists, and strengthen the economy of its art market.