Wednesday 22 November 2017

Again, 19th Lagos art auction tests economy ‘out of recession’

Ben Enwonwu (1917-1994)
‘The Leaf’ (Wood 108 Cm. 42.5 In.)

After generating a new local auction record for modernist, Ben Enwonwu, at the last May sales, Arthouse Contemporary returns, as a test to Nigeria’s art market against the ongoing distressed state of the economy. Arthouse, Nigeria’s premier art auctioneer, is featuring the same artist and other modernists as well as contemporary artists for the November edition. 
 At the 18th edition of the Arthouse auction in May, a bronze version of Enwonwu’s famous sculpture series, Anyanwu, was sold for N54,050,000 million naira. The sale of the 1962 sculpture boosted the total lots sold at N166,156,00m. In fact, the auction house has been consistent with sales since the Nigerian economy  ‘officially entered recession’ in the second quarter of last year.
  For the 19th edition of its auction of Modern and Contemporary Art, Arthouse features Enwonwu with other modernists such as Uche Okeke, Ben Osawe, Jacob Afolabi, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Chuks Anyanwu, Susanne Wenger, Georgina Beier, David Dale, Dele Jegede, Jimoh Buraimoh and Kolade Oshinowo.
  Scheduled for previews on Saturday and Sunday, November 25 and 26, sales starting on Monday,

November 27, 2017 at Kia Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos, the auction will also feature the works of artists from the young generations. Such artists, described as ‘leading contemporary,’ include Peju Alatise, Kainebi Osahenye, Rom Isichei, Nnenna Okore, Gerald Chukwuma, Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Ben Osaghae, Lemi Ghariokwu, Ndidi Dike, and Alimi Adewale, among others.
  Stressing the international reputation of the auction are the non-Nigerian artists, whose works are also featuring in the November sales. Such artists, according to a statement from Arthouse, include Kofi Agorsor, Ablade Glover, George Hughes, Nana Nyan Acquah, Ato Delaquis, Amon Kotei and Geofrey Mukasa.
  The November sales may as well record another impressive outing for the pioneer auction house, even as the economy is said to ‘officially out of recession.’ Apart from Enwonwu’s record sale at the 18th auction, other impressive sales included El Anatsui’s ‘Reflekisi,’ a wood panel from 2017, sold for N16,675,000m; another Enwonwu titled ‘Ogolo,’ a watercolour on paper, dated 1989 that features a figure wearing an Ogolo mask and engaged in vigorous dance movement, sold for N13,800,000m; a mixed media work by Alatise sold for N5,175,000m; and Osawe’s ‘Mask,’ a wood sculpture dated 1987, which takes inspiration from ancient artefacts from Benin and Gabon, sold for N4,600,000m.
  Also in support of art, Arthouse auction continues its charity sales. “The November auction will include four charity lots from Ike Nwachukwu, Stella Yowvi Ubigho, Duke Asidere and Millicent Okocha in support of Arthouse Foundation, the non-profit artist residency programme based in Lagos.”
  During the May auction, four charity lots in support of Arthouse Foundation were sold. A total sum of N740,000 was raised from the charity lots. A few weeks ago, Arthouse Foundation unveiled works of four artists in residency at its Norman Williams Street, Ikoyi. Arthouse Foundation has been providing a platform for what the organisation described as a way to expand artists’ practice and experiment with new art forms and ideas.
  “It offers live/work residencies throughout the year in three-month residencies.”
  The camaraderie of auction continues with John Dabney, as auctioneer while the event is sponsored by Kia Motors, Veuve Clicquot and 7UP, “with our official media partner The Guardian,” the statement said.
  With auctions held twice a year in Lagos, Arthouse Contemporary said it 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. As contemporary African art moves to become one of the fastest growing global art markets, this edition of the auction will feature both master works from the modern period and cutting-edge contemporary art from the region’s most celebrated artists.
 -Tajudeen Sowole

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