The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, June 23, 2018

Nigeria's Ben Enwonu holds a 'mirror' to African art at Bonhams sale in London
These seven sculptures by Ben (Benedict Chukwukadibia) Enwonwu, M.B.E (1917-1994), are estimated to sell for £80,000 to £120,000. Each of the signed sculptures features a figure holding a newspaper. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- Benedict Enwonu’s work stands centre stage at Bonhams sale of Contemporary African Art at Bonhams New Bond Street on May 22nd led by a collection of seven wooden sculptures commissioned by the Daily Mirror in 1961.

These seven sculptures by Ben (Benedict Chukwukadibia) Enwonwu, M.B.E (1917-1994), are estimated to sell for £80,000 to £120,000. Each of the signed sculptures features a figure holding a newspaper.

An unrelated bronze sculpture, also by Enwonwu, titled 'Anyanwu' is estimated to sell for £50,000-80,000. This is a small-scale version of the famous work mounted on the façade of the National Museum in Onikan, Lagos, the current lot is one of Enwonwu's most significant sculptures. The title Anyanwu (eye of the sun) invokes the Igbo practice of saluting the rising sun as a way to honour ChiUkwu, the Great Spirit: in some instances (for example in the small Anyanwu bronze in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace), the work is titled Rising Sun.

Enwonwu's Anyanwu is commonly cited as among the artist's most accomplished works, not only formally but also in terms of its positioning in Nigerian cultural history. The noble figure, with its lithe bronze torso arising as if from the earth, is considered the pre-eminent expression of what Sylvester Ogbechie describes as "the aspirations of the Nigerian nation and Enwonwu's personal intercession for its survival and growth".

Enwonwu has said of the sculpture: "My aim was to symbolise our rising nation. I have tried to combine material, crafts, and traditions, 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 flowering into the fullest stature of a nation – a people! This sculpture is spiritual in conception, rhythmical in movement, and three dimensional in its architectural setting – these qualities are characteristic of the sculpture of my ancestors."

The first Anyanwu sculpture (1954-5), made for the National Museum, Lagos, was so popular that another was commissioned for the United Nations headquarters in New York (1961).

Another strong work by this leading African artist is titled The Durbar of Eid ul-Fitr, Kano, Nigeria. It is signed and dated 'Ben Enwonwu 1955' (lower left); bears Piccadilly Gallery label. An oil on canvas it is estimated to sell for £50,000-80,000.

This work was bought by the President of the Junior Combination Room Art Committee, Downing College, Cambridge from the Piccadilly Gallery, London, in 1955.

In northern Nigeria, Eid-ul-Fitr – the end of Ramadan – is celebrated with a Durbar, or festive procession. The Durbar is initiated by the Emir of each state, and consists of a series of prayers followed by a parade of the Emir and his elaborately-dressed entourage, many on horses or camels, to the Emir's palace. The procession is accompanied by music players (particularly drummers) and is an energetic and colourful event: the subject clearly captured the artist's imagination and is ably documented in the dynamic composition of the present lot.

It is probable that the Durbar represented here is that of Kano, the capital city of Kano State, which Enwonwu visited in 1951 as part of a government commission on which he was working. Not only is the Kano Durbar the most renowned and lavish in the country, but the architecture, as well as the bird symbol of the Emir of Kano – just visible on the parasol which shields him from the sun on the left of the picture plane – suggests this attribution.

Commissioned by the Nigerian government to produce a series of wood-relief panels for the recently-built Nigerian House of Representatives, the artist sought to "express Nigeria's cultural diversity by including motifs drawn from different Nigerian cultural contexts", including the predominantly Muslim north. Enwonwu thus made a trip to Kano to record the decorative traditions, festivals and people of the region, producing a number of paintings during this visit.

Today's News

May 6, 2013

Soutine, Cezanne to star at red-hot spring auctions of Impressionist and Modern art

LACMA presents major retrospective of artist, filmmaker, and writer Hans Richter

Little Dancer: A new large-scale steel sculpture by Mark di Suvero on view at The Paula Cooper Gallery

Burials and fragmented walls have been brought to light at the Historical Center of Mexico City

New visitor center at Mauthausen tells the dark story of Austria's main concentration camp

Phillips announces a selling exhibition of works by photographer Sebastiāo Salgado

Modernism comes to the Portland Museum of Art with the William S. Paley Collection from the MoMA

Exhibition of recent work by Barbara Vaughn opens at Dolby Chadwick Gallery

Kimbell Art Museum to unveil new museum building by Renzo Piano on November 27

Doyle New York announces sale of Modern & Contemporary art to be held on May 8

Charlotte Jackson Fine Art in Santa Fe opens exhibition of works by Clark Walding

Recent work by Larry Bell featured in new exhibition at Frank Lloyd Gallery in Santa Monica

Stephen Dupont: Papua New Guinea Portraits and Diaries at Harvard's Peabody Museum

First New York gallery exhibition by the young Mexican artist Edgardo Aragón opens at Laurel Gitlen

Spectra Vision: Curated by Anselm Reyle at Takashi Murakami's Berlin Gallery Hidari Zingaro

Nigeria's Ben Enwonu holds a 'mirror' to African art at Bonhams sale in London

Exhibition featuring cityscapes at Georgia Museum of Art this summer

First solo exhibition of work by photographer Jan Rattia opens at Bridgette Mayer Gallery

All new paintings by Agathe de Bailliencourt in exhibition at Benrimon Contemporary

Florian Morlat's first solo exhibition at Cherry and Martin opens in Los Angeles

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful