Kavita Chellaram Launches New Gallery in Lagos and More News

The full catalogue for SOTHEBY’S MODERN & CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART auction for this October is now online. Interesting to see one of Ben Osawe’s earliest sculptures—sculpted on Osawe’s return to Nigeria after attending the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London, 1960-1965 and, most likely, while he shared a studio with Felix Idubor in Lagos.

The top lot is El Anatsui’s Vumedi with an estimate of £800,000 – £1,200,000. Other modern artists whose works are up for sale include Akinola Lasekan, Ben Enwonwu, Uche Okeke, Ablade Glover, Uzo Egonu, Bruce Onobrakpeya and Kolade Oshinowo.

Online bidding opens on 2 October 2020 at 2pm West Africa Time. [Sotheby’s]

KÓ, KAVITA CHELLARAM’S NEW GALLERY, OPENS IN LAGOS TODAY. Kó, established by Chellaram, founder of Arthouse Contemporary, to champion Nigeria’s leading artists from the modern period and celebrate contemporary artists across Africa and the Diaspora, will launch today, 25 September, with an exhibition by Kadara Enyeasi in its gallery space in Ikoyi. Also, Kó will debut at Frieze Masters in October with a solo presentation of Ben Enwonwu’s works. []

Activists Tried to Steal Artefacts to Return to Africa. Five protesters were arrested after attempting to seize an African funerary object from Musée du Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris with the hopes of returning it to Africa. During the 30-minute video of the foiled heist uploaded by the activists, Congolese activist, Mwazulu Diyabanza, declared, “…These items were pillaged between 1880 and 1960 under colonialism. … Today, we are recuperating what is ours.” The activists have put up a GoFundMe drive to pay for their trial which is scheduled for 30 September 2020. [Artnet]

Hunt for Protester who Tried to Seize Benin Bronzes at British Museum. In another dramatic protest of the presence of African cultural heritage in European institutions, Isaiah Ogundele attempted to seize Benin objects on display at the Museum of London Docklands’s exhibition ‘London, Sugar, & Slavery.’ Police are now searching for Ogundele after he failed to appear in court on 18 September. [Artnet]

British Government Commissioned Expert to Guide its Restitution Efforts. In January, it was announced that the Arts Council England (ACE), UK’s state-funded art organization, was offering a four-month contract for someone to “produce new guidance for the UK museum sector on the restitution and repatriation of cultural objects.” Basically someone to write a report on how to return artifacts that were looted during the colonial era, like Sarr & Selwin did for France—although one year in, France is yet to substantially act on this report. Watching ACE for their report. [GOV.UK]

The Future of the Art World is Direct-to-Consumer. “As the pandemic brought a new focus on virtual communication, many artists found themselves increasingly communicating with collectors directly to sell their work, often through Instagram,” Artnet Market reports.


Ben Osawe (Nigerian, 1931-2007), Untitled Figure (1966). Courtesy of sothebys.com