ARTHOUSE AUCTION FETCHES ₦107.5 M WITH UZO UGONU’S PAINTING IN THE LEAD. Arthouse achieved a total sale of ₦107,524,250 at its Modern and Contemporary Art Auction on Monday. Of the 92 lots presented, 54 sold—11 of these above high estimates. Against all expectations, the top lots were Uzo Ugonu’s Portrait of Northern Man (1964) which sold at ₦9,400,000; Ablade Glover’s Blue Profile (2016) at ₦7,285,000; Peju Alatise’s Respite (2009) at ₦6,462,500, and Lemi Ghariokwu’s Fela-Rhapsody(2019) fetched more than four times its high estimate at ₦ 6,110,000. [Arthouse Auction Results]
BRONZE COCKEREL TO BE RETURNED TO NIGERIA BY CAMBRIDGE COLLEGE. The Okukor, described by the college as a “royal ancestral heirloom,” will be one of the first Benin bronzes to be returned to Nigeria by a British institution. “No matter how small the gesture may look, it is a huge step towards the realisation of restitution of the works from the Benin Kingdom that were looted by the British,” says Victor Ehikhamenor, a Nigerian artist and member of the Benin Dialogue Group that had been in discussion with the college. [The Guardian]
FRANCE’S MOVE TOWARDS RESTITUTION IS HESITANT AT BEST. Two years after President Macron pledged to return art looted from Africa during the colonial era, only a sword from Senegal has been temporarily returned. Benin artefacts are still awaiting legislation to allow their restitution. French MP’s are yet to vote on effecting permanent restitution, instead there’s a push for alternative forms of exchange, like long-term loans. [New York Times]
MONUMENTAL EXHIBITION DEPICTS SOUTH AFRICAN ICONS MARCHING TO FREEDOM. Long March to Freedom, the outdoor sculptural display in Cape Town is a collection of 100 life-size figures that will grow into a procession of over 400 bronze statues over time. Visitors can walk through the loosely spaced procession of legends, beginning in the 1700s with rebel chiefs and renegade missionaries, along generations of freedom fighters, until they meet Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela at the dawn of South Africa’s democracy. [The South African]
THE WALL ART OF THE MÉDINA REJUVENATES THE ART SCENE IN DAKAR. The open sky museum, a street art project that convinced homeowners to let people paint on their walls, has welcomed artists from all over the world to practice their craft on the houses of the Médina, a poor and working-class neighborhood near downtown Dakar, Senegal. The artists, from Burkina Faso, Algeria, Morocco, Congo, France and Italy, in turn have brought art lovers and tourists into a neighborhood. [New York Times]
SMO CONTEMPORARY PRESENTS OBI OKIGBO AT THE WHEATBAKER. Through the exhibition, titled Convergence, Okigbo takes us on a journey of discovery: from a reflection on Christopher Okigbo’s poetry (“searching for an encounter with the father she never knew”) to portraits of Black heroes including Nelson Mandela, Fumilayo Ransom kuti, Chinua Achebe, Florence Nwapa and of course her father, and portraits of literary and artistic giants of African descent including members of the 1960s Mbari Club, and famous black female jazz singers. Convergence opened on 24 November and runs through 15 February 2020. [SMO]
GOODMAN GALLERY PRESENTS KAPWANI KIWANGA, PAUL MAHEKE, OTHERS IN ‘SOFT ARCHITECTURES.’ The group exhibition, which opened yesterday at Goodman Gallery Cape Town, interrogates the intersection of architecture and structures of power and resistance. Soft Architectures is realised across locations in Cape Town with many of the works resisting and subverting the disciplinary constraints of the gallery space. The exhibition runs till 11 January 2020. [Goodman Gallery]
Victor Ekpuk Creates Largest Outdoor Sculpture in Bahrain. The work, titled The Face, commissioned by The Arab Bank Corporation for its headquarters, was unveiled on 24 November 2019.
Nigerian Federal Government launches a Campaign for the Restitution of Nigeria’s Looted and Smuggled Artifacts. According to the Minister of Information and Culture, the campaign is statutorily supported by UNESCO and ECOWAS.
Michelle Obama visits Njideka Akunyili Crosby. The renowned artist received the former first lady in her California studio last Saturday.
Nigerian artist Ken Nwadiogbu wins the 2019 Future Awards Africa for the Visual and Applied Arts Category, in recognition of his contributions to the Nigerian visual and applied arts community.
Johannesburg Artist Duduzile More wins 9th edition of the Cassirer Welz Award. The award acknowledges excellence in emerging artists (under 35) and provides an opportunity to showcase their talents to a broader audience.
Featured image: Uzo Ugonu, Portrait of Northern Man (1964). Courtesy of Arthouse Contemporary