Anyanwu or The Awakening is one of Ben Enwonwu's greatest works and a fine example that best illustrates his successful fusion of indigenous aesthetic traditions drawn from his Edo-Onitsha heritage with Western techniques and modes of representation.
Completed in 1955, this bronze sculpture was presented by the Federal Government of Nigeria to the United Nations (UN) on October 5, 1966 in support of world peace. With Nigeria gaining independence, Anyanwu symbolizes an emergent nation and the yearnings and aspirations of her people. It remains one of the most recognizable works in our national consciousness and stands gracefully at the lobby of the UN headquarters in New York. Copies are at the national museums in Lagos, Nigeria, and Harare, Zimbabwe.