The first comprehensive monograph on Ben Enwonwu launches in Lagos on the 18th of March 2009
Whilst important monographs on living elder artists such as Uche Okeke and Yusuf Grillo have been published by the National Gallery of Art, Nigeria, none are available on their pioneering predecessors such as Aina Onabolu or Ben Enwonwu. Few art history book launches in Lagos have been anticipated as much as University of California, Santa Barbara professor Slyvester Ogbechie's seminal publication, Ben Enwonwu, The Making of an African Modernist. It is hoped that this will set the pace for more indepth scholarly publications on early African modernist artists such as Aina Onabolu and Akinola Lasekan among others, contributing to the development, understanding and appreciation of Nigerian and African art history. Maybe this project could be a catalyst for the National Gallery of Art, Nigeria to consider partnering with Nigerian art historians, working with currently moribund local university presses and collaborating with international academic/university presses to turn some of the noteworthy Phd research theses that are lying fallow into major publications. An example is University of Nigeria art historian Dr Ola Oloidi's years of indepth research into the life and works of Nigerian's first modern painter Aina Onabolu, or Ahmadu Bello University, Dr Ken Okoli's research on Nigerian women artists from 1955-1985. These are substantial materials that should be made available to a wide public.
Congratulations to Prof. Slyvester Ogbechie for his perserverance and for a noteworthy achievement and contribution to a better understanding of Nigerian and African Art. Visit aachronym for more information.