Africa Now: Modern Africa
by Ladun Ogidan
On April 22, Director of Sales for African contemporary art at Bonhams, Giles Peppiatt will give a press presentation at Alara in Lagos to address why there has been a significant increase in the value of African art and specifically Nigerian art in recent years. Peppiatt will also be announcing their sale of African art coming up on May 1.
Since Bonhams’ inaugural Africa Now auction in 2009, interest in modern and African art has increased dramatically, mirroring the exponential economic development of the continent. This year’s sale of 91 lots features works by celebrated artists including Ben Enwonwu with Africa Dances, 1973, oil on canvas, 105x114cm, estimated between £60,000 – 90,000; Yusuf Grillo with Bata Drummers, 1968, oil on board, 123 x 92cm with a presales estimate of £50,000 – 80,000; and El Anatsui with Two Hands and Two Feet, 1991, carved wood relief with acrylic, 65 x 168.5cm estimated at £20,000 – 30,000.
In the past few years, the Lagos contemporary art scene has become ‘hotter’ judging by the exhibitions of new cutting-edge work, the growing number of foundations to foster art globally and the steady development of the secondary art market in Nigeria, which continues to experience significant growth. Peppiatt in a recent interview explains, “It has been eight years since we started offering African art in London and the market has changed beyond recognition in that time, so I think it is a good time to take stock and look at the African art market, at what has been achieved and what we might expect to come. Our decision to start specialist African sales in Europe paid off almost immediately with the first sale totaling £1.5 million. Soon, the auctions were grossing £10 million and we were seeing numerous world records. Currently, we hold world records for all major African artists.”
Giles Peppiat, has over 22 years under his belt in the auction business, and has been at the forefront as Director, African Contemporary African Art at Bonhams establishing new records for art from the continent. Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland.
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