Tutu: Seeing Enwonwu through his Masterpiece

Ben Enwonwu never sold Tutu. The painting had a special meaning for him. He kept it in his possession—in his bedroom, I’m told—for 21 years until his death in 1994. It was reported that several of his patrons found it difficult to get him to show them the piece and, later, one of his collectors, Norma Jackson-Steele, said that Enwonwu had declared Tutu his masterpiece. Earlier this decade, there was an extensive unsuccessful search for the original Tutu, …

Adekemi is a lawyer and writer with a passion for the arts, particularly African art history. She is dedicated to discovering and documenting the most excellent artworks of our time. Follow her on Twitter at adekemitweets.


  1. Artstrings Africa
    28th October 2017

    Thanks for the comment, Ayei. Maybe, but that would have been pure sensationalism because I have it on good authority that they were not romantically involved.

  2. Artstrings Africa
    28th October 2017

    Exactly! Thanks for the comment, sir.

  3. Artstrings Africa
    28th October 2017

    Thank you very much. I’m glad you like it.

  4. Ayei Ogwo
    28th October 2017

    And the defiance/fear on her face may just reflect the futility of a relationship between a Yoruba princess and an artist.

  5. Ayei Ogwo
    28th October 2017

    Love your analysis but I will be less complicated. Mr Enwonwu might simply have been in love. Simple.

  6. Kingsley
    28th October 2017

    A highly intellectual analysis. That the artist kept this work in his bedroom for decades makes me think that there was an emotional attachment that lends itself to Freudian interpretation. This, at best, can only be conjectural.

  7. Bakte
    27th October 2017

    Brava. Good read. Well done.

  8. Artstrings Africa
    27th October 2017

    Thank you very much. I truly appreciate your encouraging words.

  9. Ego
    27th October 2017

    Brava on a short solid piece of interpretative analysis! Keep them coming. Cheers.

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