Sunday 3 May 2015

Arthouse auction consolidates its lead on African market

By Tajudeen Sowole
With an estimated 1.1 billion naira worth of sales for one thousand and one hundred art pieces since 2008, Nigeria’s leading auction house, Arthouse Contemporary continues to strengthens African art market as it goes into its 14th edition, holding on Monday, May 11, 2015, at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The preview, according to ArtHouse, starts from Sunday, May 10 till Monday, when the auction will be conducted by auctioneer, John Dabney.

A mixed media titled Signature by Peju Alatise
First of the two sales from the auction house in 2015, the May auction features works of the usual old masters such as Ben Enwonwu, El Antasui, Ablade Glover, Akinkola Lasekan, Ben Osawe, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Lamidi Fakeye, Okpu Eze, Susan Wegner, Gani Odutokun, Yusuf Grillo, Abayomi Barber, Kolade Oshinowo, and Amon Kotei. And with 116 lots total, new entrants of contemporary artists include Justus Akeredolu, Paul Onditi, Charles Okereke, Ato Malinda Soji Adeshina, Jacqueline Souwari, Charly D’Almeida, Stanley Dudu, Samuel Tete Katcha, and Mario Kizito Kasule.

Sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank, Veuve Clicquot, and Mouton Cadet, the Arthouse auction continues its tradition of supporting charity projects, as it include four lots from Nike Okundaye, Modupe Fadugba, Tola Wewe, and Victor Ehikhamenor, “in support of Standard Chartered Bank’s Seeing is Believing, a charity which works to tackle avoidable blindness.”

Nana Sonoiki, a sale expert at Arthouse, recalled that since 2007, when the auction house was founded, it has focused on modern and contemporary art from West Africa. “With auctions held twice a year in Lagos, Nigeria, 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.” She added that “as West Africa’s premier auction house, Arthouse Contemporary has sold over 1,100 pieces of art worth nearly eight million dollars over the past seven years.”

Noting that contemporary African art is becoming one of the fastest growing global art markets, Sonoiki assured of the quality of the 14th edition of Arthouse sales. “This edition of the auction will feature both master works from the modern period and cutting-edge contemporary art from the regions most celebrated artists.”

During the last Arthouse auction in November 2014, two Nigerian record sales, each for painter, Kolade Oshinowo and sculptor, Bunmi Babatunde were achieved. They included Stilt Dancers (oil on canvas, 160 x 90cm, 1981) by Oshinowo b.1948 sold for N6m and a sculpture, Possibilities (Bronze, 157 X 176.5 cm, 2013) from Babatunde's gymnastic series sold for N3, 740, 000 million naira.

Two year ago, Arthouse Contemporary expanded beyond its bi-annual auctions to include the Arthouse Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to encourage the creative development of contemporary art in Nigeria; and Arthouse-The Space, which organises exhibitions of contemporary art.

Last month, Arthouse-The Space had showed the works of Nigerian artist Emeka Udemba. Next, according to Sonoiki, is an exhibition of master, Yusuf Grillo’s work “will take place in October 2015.”

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