By Tajudeen Sowole
Art of modern masters and leading contemporary artists from West Africa are among those currently on view ahead of auction, holding on Monday, November 14, 2016 at The Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos.
The sales, which is a Lagos-based auction house, Arthouse Contemporary's seventeenth edition features artworks by Ben Enwonwu, Ben Osawe, Yusuf Grillo, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Uche Okeke, Clary Nelson Cole, David Dale, Abayomi Barber, Jimoh Buraimoh, Kolade Oshinowo, Twin 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, Sokari Douglas Camp, Ben Osaghae and Victor Ehikhamenor.
One of the paintings estimated to be among the leading sales of the auction is a stained glass titled My Taiye (2003-2009, 192.5 x 115.5 cm. 75½ x 45½ in.), is by Grillo, b. 1934. Placed at asking price of between ₦15,000,000-18,000,000 million naira, the painting tells a story of Yoruba culture of twin dolls (ere ibeji) as related to toddler's toy. But a provenance attached to the painting reads: 'Grillo here seems to purposefully conflate the Christian Holy Family—suggested by the halos around the heads of the child and mother—and a family of Yoruba Orisa worshipers. Perhaps this is
his way of asserting the equality of religions and cultures, in an age of heightened inter religious antagonism and crises.'
From the contemporary period comes one of Lemi Ghariokwu's renditions of Fela Anikulapo on stage. Ghariokwu, b.1955, renders a piece titled Fela Ginger (Acrylic on canvas, 2016, 122 x 112 cm. 48 x 40 in.), in a double figure and repeated form of the late controversial musician. The title is said to have been inspired by street slogan 'Ginger Your Swagger!' Ghariokwu designed majority of album covers for Fela's music for over 30 years. The auction house describes Ghariokwu as an artist, designer and illustrator who is best known for creating many of the original album covers of celebrated Nigerian musicians."
Highlighting the increase in value of African art, Arthouse suggests that contemporary art appears to be the future. "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," says West Africa's number one auction house. "Works will be on display at the Wheatbaker Hotel for viewing in anticipation of the auction, on Sunday, November 13 and Monday, November 14, 2016."
Total lot number under U.K-based auctioneer, John Dabney's hammer is 98, including works across paintings, sculpture and mixed media.
Sponsored by the Wheatbaker Hotel and Veuve Clicquot, the auction, according to the organisers will also include five charity lots from celebrated artists Bunmi Babatunde, Diseye Tantua, Duke Asidere and Nyemike Onwuka. Proceeds from the sales of the charity go "in support of the Arthouse Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to encourage the creative development of contemporary art in Nigeria."
Founded in 2007, Arthouse Contemporary is an international auction house that specialises in modern and contemporary art from West Africa. With auctions held twice a year in Lagos, Arthouse Contemporary aims to create awareness of the scope of contemporary art in the region, encourage international recognition towards its talented artists, and strengthen the economy of its art market.