46
46
Ben Enwonwu
DRAWING OF A HEAD
Estimate
5,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 20,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
46
Ben Enwonwu
DRAWING OF A HEAD
Estimate
5,0008,000
LOT SOLD. 20,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Modern and Contemporary African Art

|
London

Ben Enwonwu
1921 - 1994
DRAWING OF A HEAD
signed and dated 1962 (lower right)
red chalk on paper
37 by 56cm., 14½ by 22in.
Executed in 1962
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Provenance

Acquired by parents of present owner in 1962

Catalogue Note

Drawing of a head depicts a young boy with visibly West African features – high cheekbones, broad nose and lips. His wide eyed pensive expression illustrates the observant state of many Nigerians in the infancy of establishing a new government, two years after gaining independence in 1960.

From 1960 to 1966, Enwonwu completed several portrait commissions from ‘individuals, civic, religious, and secular organizations, including that of Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria' (Sylvester Ogbechie, Ben Enwonwu: The Making of an African Modernist, Rochester, 2008, p. 155). At the point of making this illustration, Enwonwu was occupied with a ‘militant affirmation of Negritude ideology,’ in which he ‘incorporated obvious signs of African identity (masks and other cultural motifs) into his art’.

As with much of his works, Drawing of a head illustrates Enwonwu’s attempt to represent the best of Nigeria’s indigenous cultures. He was influential in representing the post-colonial Nigerian identity both to Nigerian nationalists and colonial government. ‘His art was devoted to nationalist ideals and deployed symbols drawn from significant cultural motifs of several indigenous ethnic groups' (ibid., p. 155).

Modern and Contemporary African Art

|
London