Africa's art 'finally gets recognition it deserves'

24th May 2013

Africa's breathtaking landscape, with its majestic mountains and superb savannahs, has long been thought of as a natural work of art.

And now African tourists on tailor-made holidays can increasingly enjoy the man-made art.

One of the continent's leading arthouses much enjoyed by tourists on city breaks is the Goodman Gallery in South Africa.

With branches in Johannesburg and Cape Town, the gallery is at the forefront of the nation's contemporary art.

It also concentrates on artists from the greater Africa continent.

But, closer to home, just what Africa now has to offer in this field has been showcased at Bonhams auctioneers in London this week.

Bonhams' sale of Modern and Contemporary African Art on Wednesday (May 22) saw a new world record for Nigerian Ben Enwonwu (1917-1994).

The work fetched £361,250 against his previous best of £125,000.

His record work, a collection of seven wooden sculptures of figures holding newspapers, was commissioned by the Daily Mirror in 1961.

The final price exceeded expectations threefold as the figures were predicted to sell for £80,000 to £120,000.

Another Enwonwu piece, a bronze sculpture called Anyanwu and estimated to sell for £50,000-80,000, made £133,350.

The first Anyanwu sculpture (1954-5) was made for the National Museum, Lagos in Nigeria.

New world records at Bonhams were also set for more than 20 other African artists, including Erhabor Emokpae and Uche Okeke.

Giles Peppiatt, Head of African Art at Bonhams, said he is delighted that African artists are getting the recognition they deserve.

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