To mark the centenary of the birth of Ben Enwonwu MBE, ART X Lagos, courtesy of the Access Bank Collection, presents to the general public for the first time ever in Nigeria, seven wooden sculptures commissioned by the Daily Mirror in 1961 for their headquarters in London.


A rare and historically significant composition by Nigerian Modernist, Ben Enwonwu, features as the top lot at Bonhams Africa Now – Modern & Contemporary African Art Sale slated for October 5, 2017. The painting, Nigerian Symphony, 1963-34, 48 x 178cm is estimated at £100,000-150,000 and depicts a busy street scene, swarming with Nigerians cutting across all social strata. Hovering above these men and women sporting traditional attires and business suits are dark, sullen rain clouds. Yet, in the midst of this gloominess, a viewer discerns a hint of optimism and euphoria in the crowd scene. Nigeria had just gained its political independence in 1960. Self-rule still shimmers with promise. Hence, the people in the painting seem united in their expectations of a harmonious republic.

Giles Peppiatt, director of African Art at Bonhams, describes it as a “powerful and exuberant celebration of the Nigerian people’s strength and resilience by the country’s most beloved artist”. He also enthused: “Painted at a pivotal moment in the country’s history, I anticipate the work will be of great interest to collectors both in Africa and further afield.”

Related article: Enwonwu’s Anyanwu Headlines Bonhams Africa Now February Sales

September 28, 2017 at 18.30–20.00
September 29, 2017 at 10.00–17.00

Explore new positions on West-African modernism, before and after independence

Taking place during the centenary of pioneering Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu, this major international conference explores new positions on West-African Modernism before and after Independence. Jointly hosted by Bea Gassman de Souza, independent curator and Kerryn Greenberg, curator, International Art, Tate Modern, this one and a half-day conference is a unique opportunity to examine strategies of cultural independence and to reflect upon the impact of transnationalism and de-colonisation in art criticism and museum collections today. Positioning Nigerian Modernism launchs on the evening of September 28, with a keynote lecture by Chika Okeke-Agulu; artist, art historian and author of Postcolonial Modernism:Art and Decolonization in Twentieth-Century Nigeria. This is followed by a day-long conference on September 29, featuring sessions on key aspects of African modernism, Nigerian modernism and its legacies today, including Modernism and Independence in West Africa and Collecting Modern African Art:1950 -2017. This landmark event brings together the major institutions and thinkers at the forefront of post-colonial and transnational thought and practitioners of these approaches in a global institutional context. Collections and institutions represented include the University of Lagos, Iwalewahaus and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Download program here Positioning Nigerian Modernism Conference Programme

20TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEATH OF  BEN ENWONWU                                                    November 15, 2014  at 10:00                                                   

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Prof Ben Enwonwu, which will be commemorated by the Foundation with the 10th annual lecture, to be delivered by the chief executive officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr Oscar Onyema OON. The lecture is slated for November 15, 2014 and will hold at The Wheatbaker, Ikoyi, Lagos. The distinguished lecture series provides a forum for notable leaders of thought, national and international figures, policy makers and renowned academics to share their knowledge and perspectives on how art can engage society in initiating desirable changes.