THE ARTSCOMMENTS BY Osa Amadi Many people don’t understand the commercial values of visual artworks; how the artists make their money. Could you please tell us something about it? Artworks are valued based on the size of the work; the medium of the work; their peer group; how many times the artist has exhibited, and also the last price the work attracted in auctions or amongst key buyers. Artworks are also valued based on the timelessness of the work, the universality of the work, the composition of the work, the passion the artist showed in the delivery or composition, the message of the work, how relevant and contemporary the message is to contemporary and past history, etc. Another way you can easily value artworks is to look at past auction prices which are available online. If the artist is an old artist, it is much easier to value his works. If he is a young artist, an upcoming artist, it will require a keen eye to be able to appreciate the work and then value it in terms of all these elements I have mentioned. Prince Yemisi A. Shyllon Looking at what we have here tonight (Olu Amoda’s exhibition titled Season ii), as an experienced curator, what price would you put on these works? These works cannot be less than N6 million each. These things we are looking at here? Oh yes! They cannot be less than N6 million each. The small ones will probably attract N1.5 or N2 million each. I don’t understand. Where is the value located? These are just rusted nails and metals welded together. Where is the value located in this clothe you are wearing? It’s creativity! Somebody has come up and produced creative works of art. He spent some time; a creative mind has spent hours or days putting together a creative work of art. That is where the value comes from. What is the value in your shoes? It is the creativity, the material, the time… The shoes cover my feet and protect them against the weather. Artworks give you pleasure. They have decorative values. They are symbols of your self-esteem as a person. They are also means of investment. If you buy this kind of work today for N6 million, I can guarantee you that in 20 years’ time, you could be collecting about N20 million. Don’t say that. Yes! It’s true. Some three years ago, Ben Enwonwu’s work was sold in Nigeria for N38 million (more than 99, 377 pounds). Recently in London, the same work by Ben Enwonwu was sold for 353,000 pounds (N134, 980, 140)! Compare N38 million with 353,000 pounds: the same product. So that is the investment part of it. Could you give us an instance whereby you collected an artwork at a particular time and sold it for more than what you bought it? I cannot give you that kind of instance because I don’t sell artworks. I collect artworks to promote the culture, the creativity of our people. I don’t collect artwork to make money out of it. But I can tell you, as an art auctioneer, that there are works that have been bought, and have been sold at astronomical profits in Nigeria. Really? So how do you make your money as a curator if you don’t sell artworks? No, I didn’t say I am a curator. I am a collector. How did you become a collector? I used to buy artworks when I was a student in the University of Ibadan. I was a student using my scholarship money to buy artworks.  So it depends on your taste, your value system in life. I am a man of many paths. I am a lawyer, an engineer, chartered stockbroker, and chartered marketer. I am also a business administrator with an MBA. I am into many things. Thanks a lot for this useful education.

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