Bonhams' Africa Now sale – the first auction devoted entirely to Contemporary African art – today (15 October) set numerous world records.

These included new world records for several major artists:

• PEJU ALATISE (Nigerian, born 1975): High Horses triptych, sold for £31,250.

• ABDOULAYE KONATÉ (Malian, born 1953): Generation Biométrique no. 5 (2008- 2013), sold for £31,250.

• ABOUDIA ABDOULAYE DIARRASSOUBA (Ivorian, born 1983): Untitled (2014), sold for £12,500.

Other noteworthy results:

• El Anatsui's Al Haji sold for £146,500, a world record for an El Anatsui wooden sculpture.

• William Kentridge's The Pit sold for £20,000, a world record for a Kentridge monotype.

Widely regarded as the best contemporary African artist, it was El Anatsui who led the sale. Al Haji sold for £146,500 to a bidder in the room, setting a new record price for a wooden sculpture by the Ghanaian master. Anatsui's other work in the auction – the 18-piece The Pilgrims – was another highlight lot, selling for £32,500.

High Horses, the haunting triptych sculpture by Peju Alatise sold for £31,250, setting a new record for the Nigerian master. It seems £31,250 was the lucky number of the sale: this was also the price for Abdoulaye Konaté's Generation Biométrique – the new world record price for the Malian artist.

Untitled, by Aboudia Abdoulaye Diarrassouba also set a record price for a work by the Ivorian master, selling for £12,500.

"The number of world records set today is a clear reflection of the burgeoning interest in the African art market," said Giles Peppiatt, Bonhams director of Modern and Contemporary African Art and the sale's auctioneer. "Contemporary African art is the most exciting and dynamic area of the art world right now, and its significance will only continue to grow."

William Joseph Kentridge's The Pit smashed its pre-sale estimate of £6000 – 9000, selling for three times its expected price and setting a new record of £20,000 for a Kentridge monotype.

Chéri Samba's vibrant paintings were also highly successful. J'aime la couleur trumped its estimate of £25,000 – 35,000 to sell for £37,500 and Je suis l'homme qui mange de la peinture (I am the man who eats paint) sold for £12,500.

The sale, which saw bidders from across the globe, took place at Bonhams headquarters, 101 New Bond Street.

Giles Peppiatt, and Hannah O'Leary, Bonhams Head of Contemporary African Art are available for comment.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to


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