Thursday, October 17, 2019

Nigerian painting sells for $1.4 million

When a man found the almost forgotten portrait of his mother in their family house in Texas, he had no idea just how life-changing his discovery would be.

The portrait, Christine, was by one of the most revered African artists of the 20th century, Ben Enwonwu. The captivating sitter was Christine Elizabeth Davis, an American hair stylist of West Indian descent. The painting was completed in under a week as Christine was able to hold her pose for as long as needed. Christine, who was in her mid-30s at the time, passed away in Texas thereafter. But the painting remained in the family.


Just three months ago it was valued by Sothebys at around $200,000, but on Tuesday the portrait sold in London for over seven times the estimated price at $1.4 million.

And it’s not the first remarkable story of a Ben Enwonwu find. His best known portrait, Tutu, is a depiction of Nigerian royal princess Adetutu Ademiluyi (Tutu), often dubbed the “Nigerian Mona Lisa.” Prints of Tutu adorned the walls of living rooms across Nigeria. The 2017 discovery of Tutu was equally fascinating. The long-lost painting was found in a modest London flat and the owners had no idea of its importance or value. It sold at a record $1.6 million in 2018. It was originally estimated at a quarter of that price.

Enwonwu, who died aged 77 in 1994, was a Nigerian artist whose career spanned 60 years seeing the journey of Nigeria from a British colony to an independent nation. His story is unique in that not only did he become famous in his own country, but also in the UK where he studied.

While African art only accounted for 0.1% of global sales in 2016, these recent interesting discoveries and the impressively high prices they are garnering at auctions is cause for optimism. They are also proof that the international market for African art is indeed growing.

By Ciku Kimeria

Quartz 

Related stories: Britain open to loan Nigeria stolen art

The 'Mona Lisa' of Nigeria returns back home

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

President Buhari to crackdown on abusive Islamic schools

Nigeria's president on Tuesday ordered a crackdown on abuse at Islamic schools, after a second police raid in less than a month revealed men and boys subjected to beatings, abuse and squalid conditions.

Nearly 300 had been held captive at a school in the Daura area of Katsina, the home town of President Muhammadu Buhari, where police said they discovered "inhuman and degrading treatment" following a raid on Monday to free the remaining students.

Late last month, police freed hundreds from similarly degrading conditions in neighbouring Kaduna state.

"Mr President has directed the police to disband all such centres and all the inmates be handed over to their parents," said a presidential spokesman.

"The government cannot allow centres where people, male and female, are maltreated in the name of religion," he said.

Prior to this week's raid, hundreds of captives had escaped the centre, police said on Tuesday.

The 67 inmates who were freed by Katsina police were shackled, and many were taken to hospital for treatment, Police Superintendent Isah Gambo told Reuters.

"I tell you they were in very bad condition when we met them," Gambo said.

A freed captive told Reuters on Monday that the instructors beat, raped and even killed some of the men and boys held at the facility, who ranged from seven to 40 years of age. It was not immediately possible to verify his account.

While the institution told parents it was an Islamic teaching centre that would help straighten out wayward family members, the instructors instead brutally abused them and took away any food or money sent by relatives.

Police said they had arrested the owner of the facility and two teachers, and were tracking other suspects.

The more than 200 captives who escaped were still missing, Gambo said. Police were working to reunite the others with family members.

"The inmates are actually from different parts of the country - Kano, Taraba, Adamawa and Plateau States," he said.

"Some of them are not even Nigerians. They come from Niger, Chad and even Burkina Faso and other countries."

Islamic schools, called almajiris, are common in the mostly Muslim north of Nigeria.

Muslim Rights Concern, a local organisation, estimates about 10 million children attend them.

Buhari said the government planned to ban the schools eventually, but he has not yet commented on the Katsina school.

Al Jazeera

Related stories: Police in Nigeria rescue another 67 males from "inhuman' conditions

Hundreds freed from torture house in Nigeria

Survivor recounts torture house experience in Nigeria

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Video - Nigeria's lost Generation



In April 2014 close to 250 girls were abducted by the Boko Haram from a secondary school in Maiduguri, Borno State in north eastern Nigeria. Bukky Shonibare a "Bring our girls back home" campaigner shares her hopes on the Chibok girls rescue and return four years after their abduction. Fatima Adam, one of the Chibok abductees narrates how she survived a suicide bomb planted on her by the insurgents.

Police in Nigeria rescue another 67 males from "inhuman' conditions

Police in northern Nigeria rescued nearly 70 men and boys from a second purported Islamic school where they were shackled and subjected to "inhuman and degrading treatments."

The raid in Katsina, the northwestern home state of President Muhammadu Buhari, came less a month after about 300 men and boys were freed from another supposed Islamic school in neighbouring Kaduna state where they were allegedly tortured and sexually abused.

"In the course of investigation, sixty-seven persons from the ages of 7 to 40 years were found shackled with chains," Katsina police spokesman Sanusi Buba said in a statement. "Victims were also found to have been subjected to various inhuman and degrading treatments."

The raid occurred on October 12 in Sabon Garin in the Daura local government area of Katsina state. Police issued a statement on Monday and said they were working to reunite the victims with their families.

Police arrested one man, 78-year-old Mallam Bello Abdullahi Umar, for running what they called an "illegal detention/remand home."

Lawai Musa, a trader who lived near the centre, told Reuters by phone that families sent unruly men and boys there believing it was an Islamic teaching facility that would straighten them out and teach them Islamic beliefs.

"The way he is treating the children is un-Islamic" he said. "We are not happy, they were treated illegally."

Islamic schools, known as Almajiris, are common across the mostly Muslim north of Nigeria. Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a local organisation, estimates about 10 million children attend them.

In June, President Buhari, himself a Muslim, said the government planned to ban the schools, but would not do so immediately. After the incident in Kaduna, the president issued a statement calling on traditional authorities to work with government to expose "unwanted cultural practices that amount to the abuse of children."

Buhari's office declined to immediately comment on the Katsina raid, saying it would issue a statement after a full briefing from police.

"The command enjoins parents to desist from taking their children/wards to illegal, unauthorized or unapproved remand/rehabilitation centres," the police statement said. (Reporting By Ahmed Kingimi, additional reporting by Felix Onuah in Abuja Writing by Libby George Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Yahoo

Related stories: Hundreds freed from torture house in Nigeria

Survivor recounts torture house experience in Nigeria

Monday, October 14, 2019

Video - Nigerian shoe manufacturers compete to put industry on the map



If you are familiar with Nigeria, you may have heard of the city of Aba in Abia State, in the country's southeast. It one of Nigeria's industrial clusters and the biggest shoe market in the West African sub-region. But a new set of shoe manufacturers are competing to put another Southeast Nigerian State on the map.