The 17th edition of Arthouse’s Modern and Contemporary Art Sale is slated for Monday 6pm, November 14 at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi and features 98 lots by celebrated and emerging artists across Africa.

Among the top featured lots are; El Anatsui, Ahe, 2016, wood panels, 122 x 213.5 cm with presale estimates ₦ 17,000,000-20,000,000; Ben Enwonwu, Crowd Scene, 1951, pencil and watercolor on paper, 43 x 63.5cm, estimated between ₦ 13,000,000-15,000,000; Ben Enwonwu, Landscape, 1991, oil on board, 147.5 x 58.5cm with estimates ₦ 14,000,000-20,000,000; Yusuf Grillo, My Taiye, 2003-2009, stained glass 192.5 x 115.5 cm estimated between ₦ 15,000,000-18,000,000; and Ben Enwonwu, Drummer, 1978, fibre glass, 66 x 18.5 x 23 cm with presale estimates ₦ 12,000,000-18,000,000. Others include Kolade Oshinowo, Party Mood, 2013 mixed media on canvas, 102 x 91.5 cm estimated between ₦ 3,500,000-4,500,000, Ben Osawe, Untitled, 1986, bronze, 71 cm, with estimates ₦ 4,000,000-5,000,000 and Ablade Glover, Facing the Storm, 2007, 0il on canvas, 160 x 75 cm, estimated between ₦ 3,000,000-3,500,000.

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Indeed, many records have been set for Nigerian art at these auctions and many more for African artists. The 16th edition of the Arthouse Contemporary Modern and Contemporary Art Sale which held on May 9, 2016 set a new record with Ben Enwonwu’s 1990 painting Obitun Dancers as the top-selling work on the domestic secondary market in Nigeria. The 102 x 76cm painting earlier estimated between ₦18,000,000-22,000,000 was sold at ₦46,000,000. The international art market has also had a profound effect with artists, dealers, collectors and patrons more aware of the commercial potential of modern and contemporary African art.

According to founder Kavita Chellaram, “The art market in Nigeria is steadily growing, and our auctions attest the viability of modern and contemporary African art as an investment. When we launched, there was very little transparency in terms of pricing and structure in the art market, so our goal was to provide a platform that could monitor and evaluate such a market. We achieved a 90 percent selling rate at our first auction, and since then our sales have consistently provided positive results—even during the global economic crash, during which we still sold 70 percent by lot.”

This year’s Modern and Contemporary Art Sale also includes six charity lots in support of the Arthouse Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to encourage the creative development of contemporary art in Nigeria.

Ladun Ogidan is the Deputy Editor of Omenka Africa’s first art, business and luxury- lifestyle magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from Covenant University, Nigeria. Ogidan is also Operations Manager at the Omenka Gallery, and Chief Operating Officer at Revilo Company Limited, a leading art publishing company in Lagos. She has co-ordinated several exhibitions at home and abroad.

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