Ben Enwonwu’s Ogolo Valued at $105,000 at ARTSPLIT’s First Physical Auction


ARTSPLIT, the pioneering art trading platform for African art, held its first physical auction on Sunday, May 15, 2022 in Lagos, Nigeria.

The physical event followed the platform’s soft launch on April 8, 2022, which was well received by an enthusiastic community of African art collectors, as well as ARTSPLIT’s partnership with The African Art in Venice Forum (AAVF ) and the South African pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022.

The ARTSPLIT app allows users to own “Splits”, or fractions of prominent African artworks. ARTSPLIT users bid for the Splits in an auction, and if they win, they can keep the Splits or exchange (sell) them to the highest bidder.

Splits allow multiple people to co-own a single iconic piece of art, something no other art platform allows. Users can also participate in a “lease auction” on the app to win physical custody of these divided works of art for a specified period, DailyTimes has collected.

The physical auction, attended by the artist’s son, Oliver Enwonwu, marked the historic sale of Ben Enwonwu’s 1977 artwork “Agbogho Mmuo” from the Ogolo series. The artwork was valued at $105,000 at the start of the auction. The Split and Lease contracts were auctioned off and won. The work was oversubscribed, with all 100,000 units being purchased in a split contract, increasing the value of a reserve price from $0.5 to $1.05 at the end of the auction. Enwonwu’s artwork was also rented for a year for $1,600.

The artist’s work is deeply rooted in the exploration of ethnic identity, as it combines traditional African techniques and imagery with abstraction.

The Ogolo series is Enwonwu’s response to the new challenges of postcolonial identity, as well as his reformulations of Pan-Africanist ideologies and indigenous aesthetics.

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Enwonwu’s masterful technique and superb color management capture the essence of Ogolo’s performance. It is a visual metaphor for the complexities of human existence, and the actual dance represents the transient and ephemeral nature of humanity.

The physical auction also marked the lease sale of the carved and painted wooden sculpture by Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, Human Wall. The 2008 Venice Biennale Lifetime Prize winner is known for his use of simple, recycled materials that are transformed into large-scale works of art and installations. ARTSPLIT auctioned off the lease for $2,000.

Following the event, Onyinye Anyaegbu, Executive Director of Operations and Products of ARTSPLIT said, “This event justifies the ARTSPLIT model and the opportunity it represents in this niche market.”

ARTSPLIT’s goal is to democratize access to investment-grade artwork, thereby raising the profile of African artwork. This enables asset privileges such as price collateral and discovery for net worth reporting purposes, as well as ensuring attractive returns for art investors. ARTSPLIT was founded with this vision in mind and is eager to push the boundaries even further.

ARTSPLIT is building a diverse community of African art collectors and investors and we are excited about the abundant potential that exists. Welcome to the new ART ECONOMY!


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