Hunt for ‘African Mona Lisa’ underway

ILE-IFE, NIGERIA: She’s been described as “the African Mona Lisa”, the subject of a long-lost series of three paintings by the artist considered to be the father of Nigerian modernism.

But like Leonardo da Vinci’s most famous portrait, finding out more about the woman in Ben Enwonwu’s ‘Tutu‘ has so far been elusive, even for her extensive extended family.

One of the missing works, which was discovered in a north London flat, goes on sale in the British capital on Wednesday and is expected to fetch 250,000 pounds.

Enwonwu was professor of fine arts at the university in Ile-Ife, the cradle of the Yoruba people in southwest Nigeria when he met Adetutu Ademiluyi and painted her in 1973 and 1974.

The painting of the Yoruba princess by an ethnic Igbo artist became a symbol of national…

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