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Modern, contemporary African artists converge for 18th Arthouse auction

By Tajudeen Sowole
17 May 2017   |   4:00 am
Among such artists considered as modern masters are Ben Enwonwu, Erhabor Emokpae, Ben Osawe, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Abayomi Barber, David Dale, Twins Seven Seven, and Akinola Lasekan.

One of their works

When West Africa’s premier auction house, Arthouse Contemporary, opens its previews for the 18th edition, the strength of African art market will again be celebrated. The preview is scheduled for Sunday, May 21, while the auction sales hold on Monday, May 22, 2017 at Kia Motor Showroom, Victoria Island, Lagos. The auction will showcase works of some of the leading masters in African modern and contemporary art.

Among such artists considered as modern masters are Ben Enwonwu, Erhabor Emokpae, Ben Osawe, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Abayomi Barber, David Dale, Twins Seven Seven, and Akinola Lasekan. Leading contemporary artists whose works are also on sale include El Anatsui, Peju Alatise, Victor Ehikhamenor, Ben Osaghae, Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, Kainebi Osahenye and Gerald Chukwuma.

Apart from Anatsui, other non-Nigerian artists featured in the auction include Soly Cisse, Tchif, Dominique Zimkpe, Nana Nyan Acquah, Kofi Agoirsor and Ablade Glover.

The 18th edition of Arthouse auction is expected to boost African arts’ rising profile in global art market space. Last edition had Arthouse recording what was considered a “good sale” given the state of the economy. But the auction house is hopeful of an improved sales in the May auction, believing in the market strength of the artists being display.

“As contemporary African art moves to become one of the fastest growing global art markets, this edition of the auction will feature both master works from the modern period and cutting-edge contemporary art from the region’s most celebrated artists,” Arthouse assured.

To be conducted by it’s regular U.K-based auctioneer, John Dabney, the May auction is sponsored by Kia Motors, Veuve Clicquot and Shiro. With this edition, the auction continues its charity lot sales.

Four charity lots from Abiola Idowu, Raoul da Silva, Muraina Olayemi and Stella Yowvr Ubigho are expected for sale in support of Arthouse Foundation, the non-profit artist residency programme based in Lagos, Nigeria. At the last auction, five charity lots of works by Bunmi Babatunde, Diseye Tantua, Duke Asidere and Nyemike Onwuka were auctioned. A total 98 lots were put up for sale at the last auction.

In the last few years of existence, Arthouse Foundation has been active in supporting artists. The auction house stated that the foundation “has been providing a platform for artists to expand their practice and experiment with new art forms and ideas, offering live/work residencies throughout the year in three-month residencies.” A few months ago, four artists, Tyna Adebowale, Jelili Atiku, Dipo Doherty and Olumide Onadipe emerged from a group residency programme of Arthouse Foundation, as they were the first, as group beneficiaries of the organisation’srResidency, which started two years ago with U.S.-based artist, Victor Ekpuk.

Arthouse auctions hold thrice in a year in Lagos, with the aims to create awareness of the scope of contemporary art on the continent and encourage international recognition towards its talented artists, as well as strengthen the economy of its art market, the auction house explained it’s basic goals.

At the last auction, featured artworks included that of Enwonwu, Ben Osawe, Yusuf Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Uche Okeke, Clary Nelson Cole, Dale, Abayomi Barber, Jimoh Buraimoh, Kolade Oshinowo, Seven Seven and Ablade Glover, among others.  Among leading contemporary artists featured in the auction are El Anatsui, Nnenna Okore, Peju Alatise, Rom Isichei, George Osodi, Douglas Camp, Ben Osaghae and Victor Ehikhamenor.