The Auction Room’s fourth African Contemporary & Modern Art Sale saw healthy bidding from collectors across the globe, adding to the increasing awareness of the international African art market, as well as indicating a trajectory of steady growth.
Pascale Marthine Tayou’s Home Sweet Home, topped the sale at £31,200. It is a relatively rare example of a standalone mixed media work when compared to his much larger installation pieces we are more acquainted with. Here, the artist explores notions of “home” and identity through his childlike drawings, which evoke the emotional importance of home for both children and adults. Employing chalk, pearls and pins, his working methods include the complex organic bonds that make up a metaphorical home that can encompass different continents, which he considers to be “everywhere.” According to him, humanity is now privy to so many cultural influences that in reality we no longer come from a single place. Robert Devereux, art collector and co-chairman of the Tate African Art Acquisitions committee judges the work as one of the most important in the sale.
Nigerian masters continued to show that they have a dedicated following as Ben Enwonwu’s gouache study, Dakar Mime, and Kolade Oshinowo’s experimental work from 1975, both sold for £6,000 each. The market for Bruce Onobrakpeya’s work remains strong with his works selling. In a press release by The Auction Room, Lot 39, Ibiokpo and Atete Gwre Ighoro-o, ignited a fierce live bidding war with thirteen incremental bids to sell at £1,440 against a pre-sale estimate of £800 – £1,200.
Kenyan artist, Charles Sekano also attracted competitive bidding in the room from three different clients, realizing an auction record of £4,320 for his work Looking at the Past against an estimate of £2,000 – £3,000.
Zemba Luzamba from the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to captivate new audiences with his unusual, yet vivid style. Both of his works Head Study IV and Head Study with Cigarette selling for £960.
Ed Cross, African Art Specialist at The Auction Room states “ We were delighted with the results of the sale, which show an encouraging interaction from new and established collectors internationally.”
The Auction Room has continued to record impressive sales of modern and contemporary African art, underscoring the importance of online auctions as a platform in reaching new audiences. Highlights from its previous sales include El Anatsui’s Coins on Grandma’s Cloth, at£30,220; Abiodun Olaku’s Life Goes On (Lagos), at £14,100, and Julien Sinzogan’s Etats D’Esprits, at £13,200.