Thursday, 08 February 2018 05:23

Renowned Painting by Nigerian artist Ben Enwonwu Found in London, Nigerians Don't Know How It got there. Shame!

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The renowned painting by Nigerian artist Ben Onwenwu will be sold at Bonhams in London on February 28, It is expected to sell for between £200,000 and £300,000. They are calling for bidders in Nigeria, I AM ASKING MY COUNTRY TO GO BUY THAT RARE PIECE OF ART BACK AND STORE CAREFULLY FOR ONCE.

It has been reported that Ben Onwonwu's 1974 painting of Ife Princess Adetutu Ademiluti has been discovered with a family in London. What is shocking is that we Nigerias, big as we are and with knowledgeable and  astute citizens as we have, we do not know the value of art, we haven't the littlest commonsense to understand the  importance of a piece of art by artist as important as Ben Enwonwu. Embarrassment! Disgraceful..

It is said that Ben Enwonwu's 1974 painting of the Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu, is a national icon in Nigeria. According to The Guardian, the Nigerian novelist Ben Okri said  Ben Onwonwu's  work amounted to the "the most significant discovery in contemporary African art in over 50 years."

How did we lose such an important possession? What thief gave it or sold it for nothing to a man I like to hate, a former colonial master, a thief from a nation that exploited and is still exploits us?  I don't get it. Will someone explain it to me?  Do we know what museums are for? Do we have a piece of land in Abuja or Lagos and can we find a Nigerian builder  to construct a house to store things? That is a museum, What a wasted chance to create employment for the youth!

What a shame we just throw our arts away and some white man steals it or buys it for free.. We then move on like classical ewu (Igbo for goat) to another piece of art to throw away. It is an open secret that most of our precious carvings in gold, bronze, copper and other metals are all stolen away to London or Europe. Other people know the value and we don't. We are really bunkum. We really have colonial mentality to be running to London like cry babies. Is London my morher?

For the purpose of this essay, artifacts are the relics, objects of art, pieces of work of art written , drawn , or manufactured by Nigerians. These things are very important. And they are almost invaluable in that they show the world who we are as a nation. Our arts are very valuable. The artist is dead and not here to give us authentic copies. Can our art departments at the universities commission students to replicate Enwonwu's feat? It is invaluable.

By invaluable, we mean that these pieces of art are priceless, precious, irreplaceable, vital, helpful, and instrumental, We ought to have the commonsense to collect our rare artifacts and house them in a museum for future generations to enjoy. How more ignorant can we become? Are we rational? Are we coherent, sound, and have with-it-ness? How do we throw away our stuffs like the prodigal son? Do you throw away the  money in your bank account?. Someone, teach me. Biko (please).

Why are we angry when U S President says we are inhabitants of hut that is a shithole country? Are we not? Is a nation that wastes resources such as oil, paintings, gas, and coal not a shit hole? We have wasted billions of Naira since we became a gas-producing nation and have nothing to show for it. No good schools. No good roads, No running water. Plenty of mosquitoes to give us malarial fever. OLSOS (Oh Lord, save our souls)!

Shame! They say we are a shameful pile of shit! so wasteful we do not have sense  enough to realize the value of our rare artifacts for future generations to come, for our children and children' children.

People of Nigeria have been destroying the nation and throwing away all our treasures, and I don't like it. Go to London or Canada and see Nigeria's most beautiful art galore, wasted. Give me a break. And a cup of water too. There is hope!

Enwonwu's painting will be sold at Bonhams in London on February 28, It is expected to sell for between £200,000 and £300,000. They are calling for bidders in Nigeria, I AM ASKING MY COUNTRY TO GO BUY THAT RARE PIECE OF ART BACK AND STORE IT CAREFULLY FOR ONCE.

Thank you. May Nigeria progress.

Dr. James C Agazie 2/7/18

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.