London

Enwonwu MBE, Ben
Born in 1917 in Onitsha, Nigeria. Died in 1994 in Lagos, Nigeria
Ben Enwonwu MBE remains one of the most important pioneers of modern African arts, and a key figure in twentieth century arts. Over the course of his career, Enwonwu worked in recurring themes heavily influenced by a pan-African ideology. Working both as a sculptor and as a painter, Enwonwu later studied anthropology at University College, London, and, not long after, was made a Fellow at the Royal Anthropological Institute. In 1955 he was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire), and in 1956 received a commission to sculpt a portrait statue of Queen Elizabeth II, which was completed in 1957. Series such as Africa Dances, Negritude, Ogolo, and a nationwide tour of his landscape paintings, contributed to numerous exhibitions including Zwemmer Gallery, London (1937); Musée d'Art Moderne, Paris (1946); Galerie Apollinaire, London (1950); Howard University, Washington DC (1950); Mall Galleries, London (1985); and the National Museum, Lagos (1991).
Ben Enwonwu MBE, Road to Sokoto, 1974, 52 x 70 cm / 20 x 28 in, Oil on board, Courtesy TAFETA