LAGOS — First there was Tutu, the African Mona Lisa sold last year for US$1.5 million. Then a second portrait by revered Nigerian painter Ben Enwonwu, called Christine, sold in mid-October, for $1.4 million.
|Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu's work entitled Tutu - the African Mona Lisa -- was one of the works that captured the emergence of Nigeria's art market. — AFP/VNA Photo|
Both record sales of famous works by the late "father of African modernism", captured the emergence of Nigeria's art market.
A decade ago, major African artists were largely absent from international auctions. But the continent is now a major attraction in contemporary and modern art.
Since his death in 1994, Enwonwu's star has only risen, epitomising the growing industry and value for art.
His two masterpieces, were sold by two of London's most prestigious auction houses, Bonhams and Sotheby's.
"Africa is one of the fastest growing markets in the art world today, and Nigeria is equal on the top with South Africa," Giles Peppiatt, director of African art at Bonhams, said. — AFP