Art in Nigeria has lost a bit of value and popularity; gone are the days when families were known to be artists just as others were known to be farmers, traders, drummer, or hunters. When I talk about art, I don’t mean the general art of music, film or tv; I’m talking about sculptures and paintings. It is a little bit sad that art is still a less respected career path, despite the amount of work and time that goes into building ones career. I guess it’s because of the fluidity of the industry, I would understand parents wanting career and income stability for their kids.
As a country historically known for greatness and overall talent, Nigeria is the home to hundreds of world renown artists. Here are five of the most expensive art pieces in Nigeria.
NJIDEKA AKUNYILI’s ‘BUSH BABIES’ $3.4M
Njideka’s 2017 ‘Bush Babies’ is known as the most expensive recorded Nigerian Art piece sold. Her mixed media piece sold for $3.4M (N1.2 Billion) at Sotheby’s New York, officially breaking the record as the most expensive Nigerian art piece.
BEN ENWONU’s TUTU $1.6M
After decades of its disappearance, one of the only three paintings of Adetutu Ademiluyi by Ben Enwonwu resurfaced in 2017. The mystery and sudden disappearance of the painting caused it to attract more attention and value. The painting sold for $1.6M (N658 million) in 2018.
NJIDEKA AKUNYILI’s ‘DROWN ‘ $1M
Njideka Akunyili Crosby can easily be identified as one of the most successful Nigerian Artists. With two of her artworks on this list, it’s kind of hard to deny she is as successful and talented as some of the greatest Nigerian Artists. Her art piece ‘Drown’ sold for $1M (N400 million).
TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA ‘COMPOUND LEAF‘ $597,336
Toyin Ojih Odutola’s 2017 painting,Compound Leaf , sold for $597,336 (N246M) at Sotheby’s New York in 2019 . This sale put her at one of the three highest paying Nigerian Artists, joining Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Ben Enwonwu.