Twins Seven Seven (Nigerian, born 1944 – 2011)
Fura Seller, 1980s
Mixed media on wood panel
121.7 x 60.6 cm
Ksh 565,000 – 680,000
(US$) 5,000 – 6,000
Provenance: private collection of Alan Donovan

Sold Ksh 450,000

Prominent Nigerian artist Prince Twins Seven Seven was described by folklorist Henry Glassie as “the great modernist of the Yoruba tradition”. Previously working as a dancer and singer, Twins’ impressive artistic ability was recognised during his participation in the Oshogbo workshop of 1964. There he began producing the fantastical paintings depicting Yoruba legends and imagined animals for which he has become known worldwide.

Twins’ early work was mostly made using inks on paper – from the 1970s he began to paint using oils on plywood, with raised low-relief elements as seen in Fura Seller. Fura is a Fulani delicacy of spice-infused millet dough balls, often sold as a street food, and served as a beverage.

There have been a number of significant markers in Twins’ career: in 1989 his work was included in Magiciens de la Terre, Pompidou Center, Paris; in 2000 in exhibitions at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Smithsonian National Museum of Modern Art, Washington DC. All these museums have collected Twins’ work. In 2005, Twins was named by the president of Nigeria as one of UNESCO’s Artists for Peace.

Bibliography: Glassie, H. Prince Twins Seven-Seven: His Art, His Life in Nigeria, His Exile in America. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2010. Lampert C, Havell J (eds). Seven Stories About Modern Art in Africa. London: Whitechapel Gallery, 1995. Njami, S. Africa Remix: Contemporary Art of a Continent. Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2005.