ArtWa News: Gerard Sekoto and Ben Enwonwu are top lots at Sotheby’s Auction and More


ARE AFRICAN ARTIFACTS SAFER IN EUROPE? Leaky ceilings, flooded storage rooms, depots choked with toxic dust, larvae growing in objects in wooden storage cases—African artifacts are stored in these less-than-ideal conditions in German museums. The New York Times questions German museums’ stewardship of African artifacts, considering their argument against repatriation is that African museums do not have ‘state-of-the-art’ facilities to keep the artifacts safe. [New York Times]

WANGECHI MUTU ADORNS THE MET MUSEUM’S FAÇADE. Four bronze statues by the Kenyan artist now occupy niches of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exterior. The statues, titled ‘The New Ones, will free Us,’ inaugurate the Met’s annual façade commission. A representation of the majesty of African women, each statue wears a garment inspired by the neck rings found in some African and Asian cultures, and include a polished disk placed somewhere on the figure’s head—a reminiscent of the circular lip plates traditionally worn by peoples in Ethiopia, Sudan, and the Americas. [Hyperallergic]

GERARD SEKOTO AND BEN ENWONWU ARE TOP LOTS AT SOTHEBY’S AFRICAN AUCTION. Sensing a déjà vu? You are not wrong. Sekoto and Enwonwu were also top lots at Bonhams Auction in March 2019. Sotheby’s Auction of Modern and Contemporary African Art will hold on 15 October 2019 in London. In addition to Enwonwu’s newly discovered portrait, Christine, and Sekoto’s Cyclists in Sophiatown—painted before he left South Africa, highlights include a watercolour by Albert Lubaki that marks the beginning of painting in the Congo, and Bodys Isek Kingelez’s Bel Atlas, which was included in the first ever MoMA exhibition of work by a black African artist. [Sotheby’s Auction Catalogue Oct 2019]

STERN, TRETCHIKOFF, ENWONWU, SEKOTO ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF BONHAMS AUCTION. With the high estimate of £500,000, Irma Stern’s Grand Canal, Venice can be considered the top lot of Bonhams Modern & Contemporary African Art Auction, which holds at New Bond Street, London on 3 October 2019 at 4pm. Another lot, a bronze head by the South African artist, Dumile Feni-Mhlaba (1942-1991), has an interesting provenance: it was formally owned by the late Oscar award winning American actor, Anthony Quinn. The auction house will again offer bidders in Lagos the opportunity to attend a live link at 29 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi on the same day at 4.30pm (Lagos time) [Bonhams Auction Catalogue Oct 2019]

NO SUCH THING AS THE AFRICAN ART MARKET… YET. Artnet’s 2019 Market Intelligence Report, titled Welcome to the Age of the Art Industry (The Art World is Over), takes a brief look at the African contemporary art market and offers a guide to six dynamic emerging art capitals: Accra, Addis Ababa, Cape Town,  Dakar, Lagos, and Marrakech. [Artnet]

OSEI BONSU NAMED CURATOR OF AFRICAN ART AT TATE MODERN. Tate Modern Museum has announced the appointment of new curators of African, Middle Eastern, and South Asian art. The new appointees will all have the title: Curator, International Art. Bonsu, a British-Ghanaian curator, critic and art historian, specializes in African art. He curated the 2017 edition of Satellites at Art House Bernard Anthonioz in Nogent-sur-Marne, France and is currently chair of the 2019 African Art in Venice Forum. [Culture Type]

THE CASE FOR THE CERAMIC ART GALLERY NAMED TOMORROW. How do you revive a dying art? Roli Afinotan brings us the exploits of the founders of Imiso Ceramics, the South-African based gallery bent on telling African visual stories through ceramic pieces. [TSA]

TODAY MARKS THE 137TH BIRTHDAY OF AINA ONABOLU, FATHER OF MODERN NIGERIAN ART. Remembering the pioneer artist who singlehandedly introduced formal art education to Nigerian schools and laid the foundation for younger generation of artists. [ArtWa.Africa]

Enwonwu-Foundation-Point-of-View - Poster


BEN ENWONWU FOUNDATION LAUNCHES ‘POINT OF VIEW’. The monthly series of talks is conceived as a collaborative platform that will bring together stakeholders in the art industry. The inaugural edition titled ‘A Case for the Artist’s Resale Right’ in Nigeria will hold at Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi on 17 September 2019. The event is strictly by invitation due to limited seating. [Ben Enwonwu Foundation]

LATITUDES ART FAIR 2019 OPENS TODAY AT NELSON MANDELA SQUARE. The new alternative art fair holding from 13 to 15 September 2019, during Joburg Art Week, will focus on contemporary art from the African continent. “The vision for the fair was articulated by five women working in the South African art scene. But the hope … belongs to artists, curators, collectors, and art lovers who have felt for some time that the art market as it exists today does not yet have a place for them,” says the Business Development Director. [C&]

CCA, LAGOS EXHIBITS ONUZULIKE’S ‘SEED YAMS OF OUR LAND’. The exhibition, the outcome of a project by the ceramicist, Ozioma Onuzulike, explores yam and the yam barn—emblems of economic and political power among the Igbos of southern Nigeria—as metaphors to engage the human condition in Africa. ‘Seed Yams of our Land’ is curated by Iheanyi Onwuegbucha and will run from 14 September till 25 October 2019 at Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos. [CCA Lagos]

GOODMAN GALLERY PRESENTS ‘OVER TIME’ BY CARRIE MAE WEEMS. The exhibition, which opened at the gallery on 7 September, presents several bodies of work by Weems, including Slow Fade to Black featuring blurred images of women of colour who have not received due recognition for their artistic and social contributions, and People of a Darker Hue, which exposes the police killings of unarmed black people while paying tribute to them. Over Time runs till 5 October 2019. [Goodman Gallery]

GALLERY 1957 EXHIBITS ‘HOW DO YOU SPELL A SILENT SOUND’. The award-winning Ivorian photographer and mixed media artist Joana Choumali is showing new works which blend photography with collage and embroidery at the Accra gallery. Choumali known particularly for her photography work turned to embroidery as a way to process the trauma of the 13 March 2016 terrorist attacks in Grand-Bassam, Côte d’Ivoire. The exhibition runs till 5 October 2019. [Gallery 1957]

Bluer on the other side (The problem with immigration), 2018, Peju Alatise
Bluer on the other side (The problem with immigration), 2018, Peju Alatise. Courtesy the Artist/Sulger-Buel Gallery


PÉJU ALATISE EXHIBITS ‘MEMOIRS OF THE FORGOTTEN AT SULGER-BUEL GALLERY’, LONDON. The solo exhibition by the interdisciplinary artist and architect, which opened on 12 September 2019, explores the fear of the eventual death of the cultural values of traditional communities due to migration and change. Alatise, whose work was exhibited at the 57th Venice Biennale, is a fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and the 2017 winner of the FNB Art Prize in Johannesburg. ‘Memoirs of the forgotten’ runs till 31 October 2019. [Sulger-Buel Gallery]

1-54 CONTEMPORARY AFRICAN ART FAIR OPENS IN LONDON ON 3 OCTOBER. The seventh edition of the annual international art fair dedicated to contemporary art from Africa will hold at Somerset House from 3 to 6 October 2019. This year, the fair will feature 45 galleries from 19 different countries exhibiting work of more than 140 emerging and established artists. Check out the highlights of the fair. [Creative Boom]



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