Ben Enwonwu

Ben Enwonwu (Source: Wikipedia)On 5 February 1994, Nigerian painter and sculptor Odinigwe Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu, better known as Ben Enwonwu, died in Lagos at the age of 76. Arguably one of the most influential African artist of the 20th century, his pioneering career opened the way for the postcolonial proliferation and increased visibility of modern African art.  Enwonwu crater on the planet Mercury is named in his honour.

Ben Enwonwu was born a twin on 14 July 1917 in Onitsha, Nigeria. His father, besides from working as a technician with the Royal Niger Company, was a renown traditional sculptor who created masks and traditional images for ceremonies and shrines. Enwonwu enrolled at the Government College, Ibadan and  completed his secondary education at Government College Umuahia in 1937. At both colleges, he studied fine art under Kenneth C. Murray (1902-1972), an art teacher and archaeologist. Enwonwu became Murray's assistant and was recognised as one of the most gifted and technically proficient students of the ‘Murray Group’ (Ben C. Enwonwu, C. C. Ibeto, D.L. Nnachy, M. Teze and A. P. Umana). 
In 1944 he was awarded a scholarship to study in Britain where he received a first-class diploma in fine art from the Slade School of Fine Art in 1947. Subsequently his work was widely exhibited in Britain, Africa, and the USA, and he won numerous distinctions, including the MBE in 1954. His public commissions include the bronze statue of Elizabeth II in front of the Federal Parliament, Lagos (1956) and Anyanwu (‘Sun’, 1954-55), a figure of a woman clad in the regalia of Royal Benin, donated to United Nations in New York in 1966. 
(Source: Wikipedia)

Selected publications Anyanwu, bronze sculpture by Ben Enwonwu (Flickr, United Nations Photo, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

African artists : from 1882 to now / Rebecca Morrill; Simon Hunegs. / London ; New York, NY : Phaidon, [2021]

The Family Archive as Political Site: Ben Enwonwu (1917-1994) / Bea Gassmann de Sousa.
In: Third text, 2017, Vol.31 (4), p.499-532

Postcolonial modernism : art and decolonization in twentieth-century Nigeria / Chika Okeke-Agulu. - Durham [etc.] : Duke University Press, 2015

Ben Enwonwu: his life, images, education and art in the context of British colonialism in Nigeria / Freida High Wasikhongo. - ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2013
Dissertation, University of Chicago, 2013

A companion to modern African Art / Gitti Salami; Monica Blackmun Visonà€. - Chichester : Wiley Blackwell, 2013

Ben Enwonwu : The Making of an African Modernist / Ogbechie Sylvester Okwunodu. - Rochester NY: University of Rochester Press, 2008

Ben Enwonwu: Aesthetics and Artistic Identity in Modern Nigerian Art / Ogbechie Sylvester Okwunodu.
In: NKA (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 2002, Vol.16 (1), p.24-31

Ben Enwonwu and the constitution of modernity in 20th century Nigerian art / Ogbechie Sylvester Okwunodu. - ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2000
Dissertation, Northwestern University, 2000

Ijele Art eJournal: volume 1, no. 2. - Binghamton : Africa Resource Center, 2000 (restricted access)
This issue of Ijele contains a number of articles written by B. Enwonwu and one article about his work: Ben Enwonwu: The Proposal to Build a Museum for Tomorrow; The Evolution, History and Definition of Fine Art; Problems of the African Artist Today, The African View of Art and Some Problems Facing the African Artist; Contested Vision: Ben Enwonwu's Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II / Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie.

Problems of the African artist today /Ben Enwonwu.
In: Présence africaine, 1956, Vol.N° VIII-IX-X (3), p.174-178

See also: the website of the Ben Enwonwu FoundationTate Papers no.30 and Google Arts and Culture.

Ben Enwonwu & Nigerian Art - From Father to Son, Sotheby's, 2021

Timeline of 20th-century Nigerian painters via DBpedia and Wikidata