ARTSPLIT, the pioneering art trading platform for African art, closed its split and lease online auction MOCONA – a Modern and Contemporary African Arts, Auction on Sunday, 31st of July, with a closing event and exhibition at Hourglass Gallery, attended by the key figures in the Lagos art scene and exhibiting artists Edosa Ogiugo, El-Dragg Okwoju and Abiodun Olaku. The total value of bids placed was $57,000 for the five artworks, with an average growth value of 14%.

This first-of-its-kind auction, titled Ode to Mastery, took place from 15 – 31 July, and featured five prominent Nigerian artists who are key drivers of the contemporary art scene on the continent: Abiodun Olaku, Duke Asidere, Edosa Ogiugo, El-Dragg Okwoju and Oliver Enwonwu. 

The ARTSPLIT app allows users to own fractions of prominent African artworks, also known as “Splits,” and keep or trade them on the app if they win the “Split Auction.” The Splits allow multiple people to co-own a single iconic piece of art, which no other art platform allows. Users can also participate in a ‘Lease Auction’ on the app to win physical custody of these split artworks for a set period. 

ARTSPLIT curated the MOCONA Auction to further put African art and artists at the forefront. ARTSPLIT highlights the importance and value of the works, and welcomes a global audience to the ARTSPLIT app, where users can experience, invest and earn from them.

L-R, GMD/CEO, VFD Group; Nonso Okpala, Popular Art Collector; Billy Osemwegie, Exhibiting Artists; Edosa Ogiugo & El Dragg Okwoju

Each of the 5 artworks was divided into 100,000 units for auction. All works in the auction were fully subscribed to, and lease contracts on the works were taken up for the next 24 months. The artwork Euphoria by the artist El-Dragg Okwoju saw the most significant increase in value by 20%, with 100,000 units purchased under a Split contract, increasing the reserve price of 0.10 to 0.12, with a new value of $12,000. Market Day in Dalston, London by Edosa Ogiugo grew by 17% with a new value of $14,000; Rite of Passage by Oliver Enwonwu grew by 13% with a new value of $9,000; The Death of Honour by Duke Asidere grew by 10% with a new value of $11,000 and The Seeker (Portrait of a Beggar) by Abiodun Olaku grew by 10% with a new value of $100,000. The top markets by bid value are located in Nigeria, the UK and South Africa.

The event follows the successful inaugural auction held in May, where Ben Enwonwu’s 1977 artwork ‘Agbogho Mmuo’ from the Ogolo series was valued at $105,000, as well as ARTSPLIT’s debut at the 59th Venice Biennale, where the platform partnered with The African Art in Venice Forum (AAVF) and the South African pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022. 

By presenting MOCONA, ARTSPLIT intends to raise the profile of these artists further and introduce them to a new set of diverse art collectors and investors, which would ultimately boost the status of both their works and the platform. Indeed, this is the new ART ECONOMY!

COVER: Rite of Passage by Oliver Enwonwu

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