Ben Enwonwu’s Anyanwu, an iconic bronze work from 1962 was sold for NGN 54,050,000 at the May edition of the Arthouse Contemporary Auction held on May 22, 2017 at the Kia Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, making it the top sale of the evening.
A representation of the Igbo sun deity, Enwonwu’s original version of the work was commissioned by the National Museum, Lagos. This artwork broke a new auction record as the highest selling work of art in an auction in Nigeria.
Also, El Anatsui’s Reflekisi, a wood panel from 2017 sold for NGN 16,675,000 while Ben Enwonwu’s Ogolo, a watercolour on paper from 1989 which features a figure wearing an Ogolo mask engaged in vigorous dance movement, sold for NGN 13,800,000.
A mixed media work by Peju Alatise, who is currently representing Nigeria at the Venice Biennale, sold for NGN 5,175,000 while Ben Osawe’s Mask, a wood sculpture from 1987 that takes inspiration from ancient artifacts from Benin and Gabon, sold for NGN 4,600,000.
Featuring 98 lots of leading master works from the modern period alongside cutting-edge contemporary art from the region’s most celebrated artists, the auction brought in a total sales for the evening to N166,156,000.
The auction also included four charity lots in support of the Arthouse Foundation, a non-profit artist residency programme in Lagos, which raised a total of NGN 740,000. The proceeds from the charity lots will go directly to supporting the Arthouse Foundation’s annual artist residencies.
Supported by Kia Motors, Veuve Clicquot, and Shiro, the auction is the eighteenth edition of Modern and Contemporary Art by Arthouse Contemporary.