On This Day

Ben Enwonwu

Artist Ben Enwonwu
The Ben Enwonwu Foundation

Full Name: Odinigwe Benedict Chukwukadibia Enwonwu
Profession: Artist


Biography: Often called 'Africa's greatest artist' Ben Enwonwu was the most well known and one of the most influential African artists of the 20th century. Born in Nigeria, he studied in England before returning to his home country.

Working in a Modernist style, Enwonwu was the first African artist to be commissioned for a portrait of a British monarch in 1956. His bronze sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II was unveiled in 1957. In 2017 one of his major works, a portrait of Tutu was rediscovered in London and when sold achieved a record price for an African artist.

Born: July 14, 1917
Birthplace: Onitsha, Anambra, Nigeria

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Snake
Star Sign: Cancer

Died: February 5, 1994 (aged 76)

Historical Events

  • 1966-10-05 Nigerian government presents a copy of Ben Enwonwu's sculpture "The Awakening" to the United Nations
  • 2018-02-07 Missing Nigerian painting masterpiece of Ife princess Adetutu Ademiluyi by Ben Enwonwu announced rediscovered in London

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