Saturday 23 May 2015

New Look Lagos Art Auction Takes Off

By Tajudeen Sowole
With 51 lots sold from a total of 90 at TKMG’s Lagos Art Auction 2015, there was indication that the new focus of the auction house on middle generation and young artists has a prospect. Ahead of the auction, TKMG disclosed that from the May 2015 edition onwards, the lots will be dominated by works of the non-old masters and young artists with the hope of building a vibrant future for Nigerian art market.

A mixed media Dupe by Oshinowo was sold for N2,200,000

 However, the resilience of the old masters was still felt during the TKMG auction held at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos. Kolade Oshinowo, a second generation of Nigerian modernists and Abayomi Barber, one of the few living old masters, led the top of the sales.

According to a list of sales released by TKMG, from the total sales of N23,950,000; a mixed media Dupe by Oshinowo was sold for N2,200,000; and Female Study, pencil on paper by Abayomi Barber for N1,050,000. But Metamorphosis (wood) by Ruben Ugbine, which sold for N1,000,000 confirmed the prospect of non-old masters.

The previous edition of TKMG auction, held last year at Continental Hotel, Victoria Island Lagos had Dance in the bush by Bruce Onobrakpeya sold for N3,650,000; Untitled by El Anatsui, 3,050,000; and Oshinowo’s At The Party for N2,200,000 as top of the sales. The total sales represented 61 per cent of the lots.
In the last three years, Oshinowo has thickened the texture of his canvas with fabrics being blend into the images that are mostly portraits. For Dupe, a 2012 mixed media from the new set of painting on fabrics technique by the artist, it’s, perhaps, a confirmation that the new texturised canvas of Oshinowo is not exactly a fragile leap as conservatives in Nigerian art appreciation space have argued. Estimated to sell at between N2,200,000 and N2,700,000, Dupe’s brownish colour, which exudes periodic flavour asserts the artist’s strong relationship with collectors who are hardly fed up of portrait paintings by the artists.

Although it comes second on the top of the sales, a drawing Female Study by Barber has a higher value of appreciation. Estimated at N450, 000, the 1981 pencil on paper portrait sold for far higher amount, confirming the resilience of the masters.

Traditional wood sculpture appears to be making a gradual come back, so suggests the recent impressive auction records of artists of the chiseling medium. Ugbine’s sale at TKMG auction came after Bunmi Babatunde’s series Gymanistis have been making both Nigerian and world records.

Oshinowo has been having a steady rise at TKMG auctions, depending of the value of each work. For example, three auctions back, the auction house recorded Oshinowo’s Royal Procession (32 x 60 in, 2011) sold for N3.9 million.

For about a week, the preview of TKMG auction held at Terra Kulture Mulitupurpose Hall, Victoria Island, Lagos.  “Over the years, the auction house has sold works from artists like Ben Enwonwu, El Anatsui, Ben Osawe, Erhabor Emokpae, Lamidi Fakeye to mention a few,” Ronke Akinyele, Curator at Terra Kulture Art Gallery, stated. “We hope to have many art professionals and many visitors attend the art auction and we believe it is an essential place for professionals, collectors and artists to meet.”

The auction featured 90 artworks cutting across various media, artists and countries. TKMG auction was conceived in 2010 to create a platform for promoting the best of African art with primarily focus on Nigeria.

Other works of masters featured included features works of Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ablade Glover, among the old masters. And as the auction house is responsible for promoting emerging artists, the sales included the works of Olawunmi Banjo, Olumide Onadipe and Oyewole Olufemi, among other young artists.
Sponsored by Accees Bank, TKMG auction is one of the three auctions on Nigerian and African art, which hold yearly from different auction houses - three in Lagos and one in London. The auctions have raised the value of African art, creating a growing community of art market. Three years ago, a gathering on African art market had asked participants: Art As an Alternative Investment? The forum, which was organised by Ben Enwonwu Foundation (BEF), featured as discussants Amb. Arthur Mbanefo; top art collector, Omooba Yemisi Shyllon; initiator of The Arts Collector Series, Sandra Mbanefo-Obiago; lawyer and notable collector, Femi Akinsanya; and a Chartered Accountant, Folusho Phillips.

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