Tag Archives: Ben Enwonwu

Art by Great Nigerian Artist Ben Enwonwu



“Art is not static, like culture. Art changes its form with the times. It is setting the clock back to expect that the art form of Africa today must resemble that of yesterday otherwise the former will not reflect the African image. African art has always, even long before western influence, continued to evolve through change and adaptation to new circumstances. And in like manner, the African view of art has followed the trend of cultural change up to the modern times”. 1950, Ben Enwonwu.

Painter and sculpture Ben Enwonwu, is a personal favorite. Growing up i spent countless hours staring at works of his in my uncle and aunts house. I particularly loved a portrait he did of my aunt. 

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Ben Enwonwu

Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu (Ben Enwonwu) MBE


Country: Nigeria

Style: Contemporary Art, Sculpting

Media: oil on panel, watercolours, pastels; bronze, wood

Fun Fact: There is a crater in mercury named in his honour


“I will not accept an inferior position in the art world. Nor have my art called African because I have not correctly and properly given expression to my reality. I have consistently fought against that kind of philosophy because it is bogus.” European artists like Picasso, Braque and Vlaminck were influenced by African art. Everybody sees that and is not opposed to it. But when they see African artists who are influenced by their European training and techniue, they expect that African to stick to their traditional forms even if he bends down to copying them. I do not copy traditional art. I like what I see in the works of people like Giacometti but I do not copy them. I knew Giacometti personally in England, you know. I knew he was influenced by African sculptures. But I would not be influenced by Giacometti, because he was influenced by my ancestors”.

Paintings: 1. Agbogho mmo 2. Anyanwu, The Awakening 3. Africa Dances 4. Crucified Gods Galore 5. Ben Enwonwu

Contacts: http://www.benenwonwufoundation.org/

Through exhibitions, education and public debate, our mission is to:
· increase the global perception and appreciation of modern and contemporary African art;
· create opportunities and encourage research into new forms of artistic expression while improving the livelihood of artists in Africa;
· investigate and determine how art and culture can be employed to shape and contribute positively to society.

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