Austen-Peters… art auction beyond the mega bucks
BY TAJUDEEN SOWOLE
Sunday, May 1, 2011
AFTER two previous attempts at the mega bucks sales of art market otherwise known as art auction, promoter, Bolanle Austen-Peters again returns with the hammer.
With about 113 works, Austen-Peters’ Terra Kulture, steps into another phase of promoting both young and old artists. Starting with a preview on May 2 to 3 and sales on May 4, 2011 the auction is expected to record impressive outing that would exceed the previous one held last year, Austen-Peters, however, assures that the main focus, which is the future of art remains paramount. “We hope for a better outing, but auction is not always about money, but exposing good works, particularly from the younger artists.”
Terra Kulture made its debut art auction in partnership with Nimbus in 2008. The auction had on sales some of the works that were used for the historic Commonwealth Head of Government Meeting (CHOGOM) held in Abuja in 2003.
At the second sales tagged Golden Jubilee Art Auction 2010 and organized by Terra Kulture in partnership with Nimbus 2000 and support from Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), two works of Anatsui, a multimedia artist and teacher at University of Nigeria, Nsukka topped the sales.
And part of developing a strong art auction with local content, perhaps informs the choice of a surprise anchor person or auctioneer such as art patron, Engr Yemisi Shyllon.
Alongside works of masters such as Enwonwu, Abayomi Barber, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ben Osawe, Muraina Oyelami and others, there are paintings and sculptures from younger artists such as Alex Nwokolo, Segun Adejumo, Uche Edochie, Segun Aiyesan, Bimbo Adenugba, Diseye Tantua, Joshua Nmesirioye, and Lara Ige
Indeed, the auction is an extension of a promoter who, in the last few years has been strengthening the art and culture scene with consistency.
She notes that though awareness is on the increase, more still needs to be done to increase collection culture. For this reason, the auction, she assures, encourages diverse category of collectors whose choice varies from that of the big masters to the middle generation and even younger ones who would be tomorrow’s masters.
From the masters’ touches such as Onobrakpeya to much younger Tolu Aliki’s juvenile-like painting, Alex Nwokolo’s Oju series of collage as well as Bimbo Adenugba’s realism, it’s indeed an assemblage of generations of artists.
Terra Kulture, in 2008, proposed what it called Corporate Council for Art and Culture, which was eventually adapted as Art and Business Foundation. That initiative is currently part of the ongoing rehabilitation of the National Museum, Lagos in partnership with the Ford Foundation. The project is said to worth as much as $2m.
Austen-Peters argues that art, like other viable sectors such as oil and gas, for example, needs investment to play its role in nation building.
In an economy such as in Nigeria, operating an exclusive culture business in a place like Victoria goes beyond passion. Perhaps, some entrepreneurial skills that could be a case study in art and culture business.
Austen-Peters is also known to have revived theatre going, musical concert as well as reading culture in the central business district where audience come from as far as the mainland.