Modern and Contemporary African Art
Online Auction: 24–31 March 2021 • 3:00 PM BST • London

Modern and Contemporary African Art 24–31 March 2021 • 3:00 PM BST • London

S otheby’s is pleased to present Modern and Contemporary African Art from 24-31 March. This sale features masterworks by some of the most sought-after 20th and 21st century artists from across the African continent. Spanning close to 100 years of African art history, with estimates starting at just £1,000, there is something for every collector.

From unearthed gems by important Modern Masters Ben Enwonwu, Demas Nwoko, Mohamed Melehi, Gerard Sekoto and Skunder Boghossian, to fresh-to-market works by rising stars Joy Labinjo and Kudzanai-Violet Hwami, this sale features an exciting selection of Africa’s very best.

Featured Highlights

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Spanning close to 60 years, Ben Enwonwu’s artistic career followed one of the most important periods of Modern Nigerian history; the journey from a British colony to a newly independent African nation. Enwonwu was determined to write a new narrative for contemporary African art.

Enwonwu's ability to fuse indigenous traditions and aesthetics with those of western techniques and conventions is unparalleled. By his passing in 1994, Ben Enwonwu was, and would continue to be, considered one of the most revered African artists of the 20th century and one of the first to enjoy international success.

Featured Artist's Lots

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Lola Ogunnaike is an award-winning Nigerian-American journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, GQ, Architectural Digest and Rolling Stone. Over the course of her nearly two-decade long career, she’s interviewed a range of newsmakers and luminaries, from Michelle Obama to Kehinde Wiley.

When she’s not writing cover stories for today’s leading publications, Ogunnaike, a former New York Times Arts & Leisure reporter, speaks about the intersection of pop culture and politics as a commentator on CNN and MSNBC. She recently began executive producing and co-hosting Well Suited, a new podcast that takes a deep dive into the minds of contemporary style icons.

A Selection of Lola Ogunnaike's Picks

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Mohamed Melehi (1936-2020)

Mohamed Melehi was a pioneer of Moroccan modernism and a leading member of the famed Casablanca Art School. Sotheby’s pays tribute to this ground-breaking artist and the reverberating impact of his life and work on generations to come.

Courtesy of Zamân Books, Morad Montazami & Curating.

The Next Generation

These artists are still under 40 and have already made a splash in the international art world. Look out for more from these rising stars…

Featured Artworks

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African Abstraction

Africa is the birthplace of abstraction; a continent whose radical ideas about form and space underpinned Cubism and influenced European Modernism. These artists maintain a healthy engagement with abstract and non-figurative art as a bold assertion of artistic independence and autonomy.

Explore the bold work of these pioneering abstractionists…

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The Art of a Continent
Click on the red dots to view artworks from influential artists from all over the African continent
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Zoom In: African Photography

This upcoming auction illuminates the past 50 years of African photography. In a rapidly changing continent, the medium, celebrated for its immediacy and fastidiousness, proves to be the perfect companion for artists working on the continent.

Journey through a curated history of African photography with rare glimpses into the studios of forerunners J.D ‘Okhai Ojeikere and Samuel Fosso, the documentary and social realism of David Goldblatt and Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou and the activist photography of Zanele Muholi and Kudzanai Chiurai, and much more…

Featured Artworks

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