Negritude signed 'Ben Enwonwu' and dated '1957' (lower left) acrylic and watercolour on card 120 x 75cm (47 1/4 x 29 1/2in).
Enwonwu was a pioneer in the development of modern Nigerian art, and his legacy has enriched and projected Nigerian art onto the international scene. He studied first under his father, then with British archaeologist and art teacher, Kenneth Murray, in pre-Independence Lagos. Thanks to the recommendation of Murray, Enwonwu travelled to the UK, where he exhibited at the Zwemmer Gallery and the Glasgow Empire Exhibition. He was awarded a grant by the British Council to continue his study, first at Goldsmith's, and then the Slade School of Fine Art (1946-48). He returned to Nigeria as Arts Advisor to the government.
Negritude was both a literary and ideological movement led by Francophone black writers and intellectuals. The movement is marked by its rejection of European colonization and its role in the African diaspora, pride in "blackness" and traditional African values and culture.