Research Programme

The Foundation is the most comprehensive resource in the world for scholars of Ben Enwonwu. Through our developing research centre, we seek to support, generate and disseminate research on Ben Enwonwu, as well as sculpture and painting, two media he worked extensively in.

We welcome researchers to the Foundation in Lagos through formal research opportunities, collaborative research projects and by hosting talks and conferences.

Our research places sculpture and painting in Africa at the centre of current art historical scholarship while actively encouraging new research.

Our activities are aimed at positioning both media as complex and dynamic subjects of enquiry, embracing the modern and contemporary painting, as well as the historic in the case of sculpture.

Focus: Ben Enwonwu

Research on Ben Enwonwu’s life and work is integral and on-going at the Foundation.

Staff at the Foundation continue to document and examine his techniques, working methods and artistic output. Enwonwu’s works and archive contribute largely to our extensive programme of exhibitions, events, publications and collaborative research projects.

Focus: Sculpture and Painting

The Ben Enwonwu Foundation operates across several disciplines and art forms. We facilitate contact and exchange, generating and supporting research networks that extend beyond the confines of the academia.

The Foundation offers researchers at all levels advice while availing them the use of our resources. We have several programmes in place to allow scholars dedicate time towards studying sculpture and painting.

To provide deeper understanding of both media in Nigeria, oftentimes our research embraces several disciplines and art forms, for example drawing, photography or architecture, or broader fields such as politics or anthropology.

Plans are in place to make public our research which will be organised into specific areas of inquiry. Platforms will include conferences, seminars and lectures. Dialogues will also be recorded and made available in our digital library or published as online papers.

The Foundation continues to document and research on the development of sculpture and painting being produced in Nigeria by representing established practitioners, and including neglected ones into existing narratives.

Latest Project

Continuing investigation into Enwonwu’s artistic output has resulted in the discovery of several, previously uncatalogued works, which the Foundation will share with the public through a new project to publish online the complete works of Ben Enwonwu.

Our research, curatorial and archive staff regularly assist external scholars with enquiries into Enwonwu’s life and work. Upon request, we also undertake authentication research on works believed to be by the artist.

Collaborative Projects

The Foundation continues to seek collaboration on initiatives to further the study of sculpture and painting in Nigeria. We welcome proposals that map the practice and teaching of sculpture and painting in Nigeria.

Funded Internships

From 2018, the Foundation will invite applications for two funded internships from across MA programmes at Nigerian universities. The internships are aimed at students who have a research interest in sculpture and painting. Internships relate to our collections, exhibitions and research programme and involve students working closely with members of staff.

The timing of each internship will be arranged according to applicant and project schedule. Travel and, if necessary, accommodation will be provided.  An award of N80, 000 will be given to students at the end of the three-week internships.

The Ben Enwonwu Foundation Dissertation Prize

In 2008, as part of the Foundation's research programme, two prizes will be awarded for extended pieces of writing on contemporary, modern or historical sculpture or painting. Based on the belief that the study of sculpture and painting encompasses a range of approaches, media, disciplines and theories, the Foundation is open to receiving submissions in the broadest possible sense. The Ben Enwonwu Dissertation Prizes are open to BA and MA students of all disciplines.

BA Dissertation: N50, 000 cash prize

MA Dissertation: N80 cash prize

Published and bound copies of dissertations will be entered into The Ben Enwonwu’s Foundation Research Library.

This Prize is for a dissertation, submitted as part of course work within the past academic year at a Nigerian university. Dissertations should not have previously been published or be in publication.

Applicants should include a letter from their academic institution to indicate their course and place of study, as well as a letter of support from an academic tutor or supervisor.

Essay should be submitted by email to Oliver Enwonwu, Executive Director: oliver@benenwonwufoundation.org by December 4, 2017.