Ben Enwonwu MBE, 'Untitled (Landscape)', 1959, Oil on canvas, 36 x 46 cm, Courtesy of TAFETA
Ben Enwonwu MBE, 'Untitled (Landscape)', 1959, Oil on canvas, 36 x 46 cm, Courtesy of TAFETA 

Ben Enwonwu MBE remains one of the most important figures in modern African arts, and a leader of twentieth century arts. Over the course of his career, Enwonwu worked in recurring themes heavily influenced by a pan-African ideology. Working both as a sculptor and a painter, Enwonwu later studied anthropology at University College, London and became a Fellow at the Royal Anthropological Institute. In 1955 he was awarded an MBE, Member of the British Empire, and in 1956 received a commission to sculpt a portrait statue of Queen Elizabeth II, which was completed in 1957.

Series such as Africa Dances, Negritude, Ogolo, and a nationwide tour of landscape paintings, contributed to numerous exhibitions, including Zwemmer Gallery, London (1937); Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (1946); Galerie Apollinaire, London (1950); Howard University, Washington DC (1950); Mall Galleries, London (1985); and the National Museum, Lagos (1991).