ENWONWU’S ANYANWU HEADLINES BONHAMS AFRICA NOW FEBRUARY SALES
Celebrated Nigerian artist and one of Africa’s pioneer modernist artists, Ben Enwonwu MBE headlines Bonhams Africa Now Modern Africa Sale. His sculpture, Anyanwu is the highlight of the Wednesday February 15, 2017 sales, which will take place at 101 New Bond Street London.
Created in 1956, the iconic sculpture is 236 x 71 x 45cm and estimated at £150,000-200,000. Anyanwu the Igbo sun god is one of Enwonwu’s most successful and visible works. In seeking a work that would symbolize the spirit of a new Nigerian nation for the new National Museum at Lagos, the Nigerian Federal Government commissioned the artist to produce a sculpture. In 1961, the Federal Government presented a copy of this work to the United Nations in promotion of world peace. Another smaller copy of 142cm, cast from the same model set the previous record of ₦30,800,000 (buyer’s premium inclusive) for the highest work sold on the Nigerian art market at the Arthouse Contemporary auction on November 21, 2011.
Twenty years after his death, Ben Enwonwu remains one of the most influential figures in contemporary art and culture. Much of Enwonwu’s legacy is hinged on his creation of a modern visual language for Africa, through the fusion of Western techniques and indigenous traditions. His success increased the visibility and appreciation of modern and contemporary African art, and gave respectability to the art profession, paving the way for many generations of Nigerian and African artists to define their practices.
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