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It was November of 2017 that my cousin, Chinonso, visited her friend in the city of Owerri. She had discovered in her friends room, an old dusty painting with the tittle:” TUTU by Ben Enwonwu” boldly written on it.  She snapped the work with her phone, knowing my love for art, sent it to me saying ” look what I found”.  But she did not know, it was the most sort after painting by an African modernist. She did not also know the worth. To cut the long story short, I was disappointed it was print; I was ecstatic about the fact that it was TUTU, I really felt like I found it.

3 months later, TUTU  was discoverd by Giles Peppiatt, the director of modern African art at the auction house Bonhams.

 And I ask:

What was an African legendary painting doing in a London flat?

why do we have all the prints littered in our country, and not the original ? (I hope someday we find one original here)

why should it be estimated to worth less than a million pounds?

Simple Facts about TUTU

-TUTU is a Ben Enwonwu’s 1974 painting of the Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi, known as Tutu.

-It is a national icon in Nigeria, with poster reproductions hanging on walls in homes all over the country.

-It was painted around 1973,  3 years after the civil war, and so it served as an icon of  peace and National reconciliation.

-it is also regarded as the Mona Lisa of Africa.

-It is estimated to be worth £200,000 to £300,000

– Tutu has been slated to sale at Bonhams in London on 28 February and is expected to sell for between £200,000 and £300,000. 

– Tutu is regarded as his greatest masterpiece.

– Two other versions are still missing.
Since  the sale will also be broadcast live to bidders in Lagos, The Nigerian Government should be sure to buy the work as opposed to living it in the hands of an individual collector, while the search for the others continue.

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