Bonhams October Auction Features Two Paintings by Lasekan and More News

BONHAMS MODERN & CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART AUCTION THIS OCTOBER. Two paintings by Akinola Lasekan (1921-1972) are up for sale at the auction holding on 8 October 2020. This is noteworthy because, unlike other modernists, Lasekan began showing up regularly at auctions fairly recently and it’s still rare to see two at the same auction. Lot 65, Femi (pictured), carries an estimate of £20,000 – £30,000—likely the highest estimate for a Lasekan so far. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Other interesting lots include Prof. Uche Okeke’s Ana was not there, only Darkness; Ben Enwonwu’s Head of Osagboivo (1949)—a portrait of a Mr. Osagboivo, then head of the Benin Wood Carving Guild in Benin City; and Kofi Antubam’s An Akan Akoyeame (1950)—the stylistic similarities between paintings by the Ghanaian artist Kofi Antubam (1922-1964) and paintings by some South African modernists, including Gerard Sekoto’s paintings before he left South Africa for Paris, is intriguing. [Bonhams Catalogue]

PODCAST: MAGDALENE ODUNDO ON LADI KWALI. Listen to the renowned ceramic artist Dame Magdalene Odundo relate her experience with the influential potter Ladi Kwali, who taught Odundo in the early 1970s. Podcast by ‘Bow Down: Women in Art History.’ [Frieze]

WEST AFRICAN PORTRAITURE AT DAVID HILL GALLERY. The London gallery is currently showing photographs by Malick Sidibé, Sanlé Sory, Rachidi Bissiriou and Agbodjélou in its exhibition titled ‘Tête à Têtes – West African Portraiture from Independence into the 21st Century’. Tête à Têtes runs until 28 November 2020. [Exhibition Catalogue]

AGAINST THE CONTINUED DISPLAY OF BENIN BRONZES. This review of Dan Hicks’ new book, The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution, makes an interesting read. The book, a call for repatriation by Western museums, focuses on unearthing the violent history of the objects taken from Benin City during the 1897 British Punitive Expedition. Among other things, it looks at the expedition’s chief of staff’s to-do list, which shows “The Punitive Expedition was not satisfied with killing people. They also intended to kill a culture.” [BLARB]

FRANCE’S COLONIAL LEGACY RAISED AT ACTIVISTS’ TRIAL. The New York Times has published a piece on the trial of the activists who tried to seize an African artefact from the Quai Branly Museum to protest colonial-era cultural theft. Highlight: “The presiding judge in charge of the case acknowledged the two trials: One, judging the group, four men and a woman, on a charge of attempted theft … And another trial, that of the history of Europe, of France with Africa, the trial of colonialism, the trial of the misappropriation of the cultural heritage of nations …” [NYT]


Featured Image: Femi (1966), Akinola Lasekan (Nigerian, 1921-1972). Credit: