Enwonwu Nigerian Symphony elite living africaBonhams Africa Now – Modern & Contemporary African Art sale will be held at the New Bond Street saleroom on 5 October 2017

The pieces features a panoramic view depicting a bustling street despite the threatening rain clouds over head, Nigerian citizens from all walks of life are present: market vendors in traditional dress, women in gele, bespectacled and suited businessmen all jostle for space.

Created in 1963-64, the painting reveals the optimism and euphoria that many Nigerians felt following independence in 1960. The crowd is peaceful and the orange, curving arcs that outline the heads of the central figures create a sense of unity.

Bonhams director of African Art, Giles Peppiatt describes Nigerian Symphony as a “powerful and exuberant celebration of the Nigerian people’s strength and resilience by the country’s most beloved artist. Painted at a pivotal moment in the country’s history, I anticipate the work will be of great interest to collectors both in Africa and further afield.”

Negritude on Red, one of the paintings, from Enwonwu’s Negritude series is estimated to go for £60,000-90,000 at auction. The artist first encountered the ideology of Negritude whilst he was studying in Paris.

Also to be featured includes a rare work by Demas Nwoko’s Metro Ride. The artwork presents a European couple embracing at the entrance of a Parisian metro station, a modern-day Adam and Eve. The painting is estimated at £60,000-90,000.

At this time, Bonhams currently holds the world record for a work by Ben Enwonu (seven wooden sculptures commissioned by the Daily Mirror in 1960, sold for £361,250) and the world record for a painting by the artist (Spirit of Ogolo, £218,500).