Arts & Design

Nigeria-born Artist, Oliver Enwonwu Set for King Charles’ Funded Residency

The Scottish Estate for the British Monarch, King Charles will soon become the destination of selected artists in residence from African and Caribbean artists inside the Dumfries House.


The residency which is a project done in collaboration between The King’s Foundation and the rugby player Maro Itoje will give up-and-coming artists the chance to live in the King’s Scottish estate. ‌Mr Itoje is the co-founder of The Akoje Residency created to provide opportunities to artists from the Commonwealth.


The first artist to benefit from the programme will be Nigeria-born Oliver Enwonwu, 48, who is working towards a PhD in African Art History at the University of Benin and who uses his work to celebrate achievements of African people.


Enwonwu, 48, will have the chance to live and work at the sprawling 18th century property for three months.


‌Simon Sadinsky, the executive director of The King’s Foundation, said: “The residencies, each lasting for three months, will give international artists the opportunity to gain inspiration from our beautiful Dumfries House headquarters while also benefiting from access to The King’s Foundation’s wide range of specialist workshops, expertise, and skilled craftspeople.”


Dumfries House is one of Britain’s most beautiful stately homes and best kept heritage secrets.


Saved by the intervention of HRH the Prince of Wales in 2007 with a £45 million rescue package, Dumfries House combines the architecture of Robert Adam with the furniture of Thomas Chippendale and leading 18th century Scottish cabinet makers.


Oliver Enwonwu is a third-generation artist; his grandfather was a reputable traditional sculptor, while his father, Professor Ben Enwonwu, MBE, is celebrated as Africa’s pioneer modernist artist.

Enwonwu is one of the most influential figures in the Nigerian arts and culture sector with about 20 years of experience in art advisory, programme management, as well as strategy and development.


He has empowered creatives through skills enhancement and optimised business opportunities while managing consultants and working with stakeholders, from diverse cultural teams to the federal government.


A curator, art administrator, author, publisher, and brand strategist, Enwonwu earned a first degree in biochemistry, an advanced diploma in exploration geophysics (distinction), and a postgraduate diploma in applied geophysics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. From the same institution, he holds another postgraduate diploma in visual arts (distinction) and graduated as with a master’s in art history.


Presently, Enwonwu is pursuing a PhD in African art history at the University of Benin. Oliver Enwonwu is the founder, executive director, and trustee of The Ben Enwonwu Foundation. He is also the CEO of Revilo Company Ltd., publishers of Omenka, Africa’s first arts, business, and luxury lifestyle magazine. From 2009 to July 2021, Enwonwu served as the President of the Society of Nigerian Artists, established in 1963 as the umbrella professional body for all artists in Nigeria, which exists to engender the highest standards of practice and teaching of the visual arts in Nigeria.


As president, he appointed His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the then Vice President of Nigeria, as Grand Patron of the Society, and led a delegation of stakeholders to public hearings at the Federal House of Representatives and the Senate on bills to Repeal and Re-Enact the National Gallery of Art Act and the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation Act, respectively. In addition, he established the Society’s College of Fellows and Hall of Fame. He is currently a Fellow of the Society.


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