ARTSPLIT, the pioneering art trading platform for African art, has announced its maiden MOCONA – a Modern and Contemporary African Arts, Auction due to take place from 15 – 31 July. This first-of-its-kind auction, titled Ode to Mastery, will feature five prominent Nigerian artists who are key drivers of the contemporary art scene on the continent: Abiodun Olaku, Duke Asidere, Edosa Ogiugo, El-Dragg Okwoju and Oliver Enwonwu.
The ARTSPLIT app allows users to own fractions of prominent African artworks, also known as “Splits,” and keep or trade them on the app if they win the “Split Auction.” The Splits allow multiple people to co-own a single iconic piece of art, which no other art platform allows. Users can also participate in a ‘Lease Auction’ on the app to win physical custody of these split artworks for a set period.
The MOCONA auction will be a split auction, followed by a lease auction of individual works from these 5 artists. Both auctions will run for two weeks (July 15th- July 31st). The works will also be available for physical viewing at Hourglass Gallery – 979 Saka Jojo St, Victoria Island 106104, Lagos for the auction duration from July 25th till July 31st and online from July 15th.
The event follows the successful inaugural auction held in May, where Ben Enwonwu’s 1977 artwork ‘Agbogho Mmuo’ from the Ogolo series was valued at $105,000, as well as ARTSPLIT’s debut at the 59th Venice Biennale, where the platform partnered with The African Art in Venice Forum (AAVF) and the South African pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022.
Famed for his highly-finished and detailed depictions of Nigeria’s cities and landscapes, Abiodun Olaku is generally considered one of the country’s most accomplished oil painters. Olaku largely works in the traditional medium of oil; however, his work is not stuck in the past. The artist explores new horizons within established methods and techniques open to innovation.
El-Dragg Okwoju is an esteemed oil painter known for his vibrant depictions of Nigerian culture. Women are the subject matter at the core of Okwoju’s practice, often caught in an abstracted and ephemeral moment of ordinary life like dancing and celebrating life.
Duke Asidere expresses himself in thick, bold strokes through various media, including pencil work, oil, acrylic, pastels and transparencies. Having been raised in a female household, he has become known for his inquisitive portrayal of women in works that explore concepts like politics, society, culture and psychology – his architectural series offers a fresh perspective of Africa and his number plate and spray series have underlying political statements.
Edosa Ogiugo is one of Nigeria’s most famous artists for his large canvasses of equestrian and dancing scenes. His fascination with horses began after a visit to his wife’s family in northern Nigeria. For Ogiugo, the technical challenges of mastering his subject matter inspire him more than anything else.
Oliver Enwonwu comes from a long line of remarkable artists, such as his grandfather, a reputable traditional sculptor, and his father, Ben Enwonwu, widely known and celebrated as Africa’s most celebrated pioneer modernist. Enwonwu interrogates the complex layers of history between Africa and the West in his work.
The complete list of works available at the auction includes:
Abiodun Olaku, ‘The Seeker’ (Portrait of a beggar), 1994
El-Dragg Okwoju, Euphoria, 2022
Duke Asidere, The Death of Honour, 2022
Edosa Ogiugo, Market Day in Dalston, London, 2017
Oliver Enwonwu, Rite of Passage, 2022
By presenting MOCONA, ARTSPLIT intends to raise the profile of these artists further and introduce them to a new set of diverse art collectors and investors, which would ultimately boost the status of both their works and the platform. Indeed, this is the new ART ECONOMY!