Benedict Enwonwu

Benedict Enwonwu, better known as Ben Enwonwu was a renowned painter and sculptor.

Born in Onitsha and schooled in government colleges there before travelling to pursue secondary education in Europe, Benedict Enwonwu grew up to become perhaps the foremost Nigerian artist of his time. In England he studied Fine Art, Aesthetics, History of Western Art and Anthropology and began an artistic career in earnest.

Working with diverse media in his painting and sculpture-wood, bronze, metal, plastics, plaster, cement, oil and watercolors, Enwonwu's work was popular throughout his career, which was brought to international attention when Queen Elizabeth II sat for him at Buckingham Palace in the late 1950s.

Enwonwu exhibited sculpture around the world, at London's Berkeley galleries (1947), Howard University (1950), the Galerie Apollinaire (1950), the Goethe Institute (1976) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (2001). He also wrote of the politics contained in visual art cultures, and was a proponent of using artistic expression to provide local or individual representation, even in the face of Western art forms or techniques.

Enwonwu died in 1994


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