Monday 4 June 2018

Tonight, 'Anyanwu' by Enwonwu goes for 50-60 million Naira Nigerian auction record

Anyanwu' The Wakening), by Ben Enwonwu.

 It took more than one year and two editions of Arthouse auctions before Ben Enwonwu won the heart of collectors after the 2008 historic sale event in Lagos. Dr Bruce Onobrakpeya and Yusuf Grillo were among the I  eading masters in top sales of the first two editions.

But as Arthouse makes its 10th year of raising values of African art with its 20th edition, tonight at Kia Showroom, Victoria island, Lagos, Enwonwu's masterpiece sculpture titled 'Anyanwu' is the star lot. Estimated to fetch between N50,000 000 - N60, 000, 000 million naira, the sculpture is one of the many editions produced by the late master after the index public one mounted on the facade of the National Museum, Onikan, Lagos.

Last year, s other edition of the same sculpture was sold by Artgouse for over N54m. Also, in 2011, Anyanwu' sold for the then record N28m by the same auction house.

The 10th anniversary edition, according to Arthouse, is sponsored by Access Bank, Kia Motors, Veuve Clicquot, 7UP, Le Con- naisseur, and Shiro, with The Guardian as official media partner.

 Listed on the lots, among others are works by Onobrakpeya, Ben Osawe, Kolade Oshinowo, Ablade Glover, Chuks Anyanwu, David Dale, Ato De- laquis, Marvua Lessor, Uzo Egonu, Obi Enkwenchi, Okpu Eze, Lamidi Fakeye, Amos Odion, Abiodun Olaku, Muraina Oyelami, Jacob Afolabi, Susanne Wenger and Sam Ovraiti.

For Enwonwu's 'Anyanwu' (The Awakening', its provenance takes off from depicting the Igbo sun god to becoming part of Nigeria's history. "To symbolise the spirit of an independent Nigeria for the new National Museum at Lagos, the Nigerian Federal Government commissioned Enwonwu to produce the sculpture, which was completed in 1956", a provenamce note on the catalogue of the auction states. Arthouse also quotes Enwonwu: “My aim was to symbolise our rising nation. I have tried to combine material, crafts, and tradition, to express a conception that is based on womanhood—woman, the mother and nourisher
of man. In our rising nation, I see the forces embodied in womanhood; the beginning, and then, the development and fowering into the fullest stature of a nation—a people! This sculpture is spiritual in conception, rhythmic in movement, and three dimensional in its architectural setting—these qualities are characteristic of the sculptures of my ancestors”.

The provenance further recalls that on October 5, 1966, the Nigerian government presented a copy of Anyanwu to the United Nations in support of world peace. As a masterpiece, 'Anyanwu' is such an iconic name as Enwonwu produced limited editions in miniatures, measuring about 142cm. Among such editions is the one for the Arthouse's 10th anniversary auction edition. "It's one of Enwonwu’s greatest and most visible works", Arthouse says. "It best illustrates his pioneering contributions to modern art in Nigeria and Africa through the invention of a new visual language that not only fused indigenous aesthetic traditions and Western techniques and modes of representation but also engaged nationalist and Pan-Africanist ideals".


Over 20 artworks from the collection of a prominent art collector are also featuring in the auction. In the collection are Enwonwu, Tayo Adenaike, David Dale, Okpu Eze, Abayomi Barber, Jimoh Buraimoh, Solomon Wangboje, Abiodun Olaku, Dele Jegede, Ben Osawe, Kolade Oshinowo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Sam Ovraiti, Twins Sev- en Seven, Simon Okeke, Obiora Udechukwu and Ben Osaghae, Arthouse dicloaed.
 Leading contemporary artists in the auction include El Anatsui, Peju Alatise, Rom Isichei, Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Ndidi Emefiele, Lemi Ghariokwu, Alimi Adewale, Duke Asidere, Chike Obeagu, Uche Okpa-Iroha, Oluseye/Lakin Ogunbanwo, Ade Adekola and Michael Soi.
  Four charity lots from Gerald Chukwuma, Lemi Ghariokwu, Reuben Ugbine, and Uchay Joel Chima are included in support of Arthouse Foundation, the non- profit artist residency programme based in Lagos. The Arthouse Foundation provides a platform for artists to expand their practice and experiment with new art forms and ideas, offering live/work residencies throughout the year in three-month residencies.

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