In Sotheby’s auctions, a unique amount of money was gathered, surpassing all expectative and art selling records from the large continent. 84 million dollars compared to the 4 million that was gathered one decade before. There is no doubt that market is growing and art is being valued more.
Bonhams saw that it grows five times more than average prices. The ArtHouse Contemporary Limited, an auction house in Nigeria, pointed that prices of works that were sold on the first auction, in 2008, have increased ten times. Prince Yemisi Shyllon is the biggest private art collector in Nigeria. He has been a witness of the increase of African art prices.
“When I started to collect art, being a student at the university in 1970, it was almost free.”
“I could buy a good piece of art for 20,000 nairas, [around 100 dollars according to current exchange rate]. Now, I could sell them for millions,” he said to CNN.
It seems that half of African art that is in auctions worldwide come from buyers from the continent, especially from Nigeria and South Africa. Since Nigeria has the biggest population and it is one of the best economies due to oil production. Also mid-class has grown, which would be an important factor concerning interest in contemporary African art.