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THE AFRICANIZED QUEEN: METONYMIC SITE OF TRANSFORMATION.©
Race as a category of classification has an infamous history of injustice and domination. In late nineteenth century Africa, it was deployed in a violent agenda of empire-building, in which European superiority became the organizing principle of the new political order. Following colonization, European cultural values, social norms, and conception of reality provided the privileged frame of representation, and the standpoint for understanding Africans whom Europeans considered to be subhuman. In the views of then Governor of Lagos, Sir Hugh Clifford, Africans lacked the organizing and creative abilities that were "the particular trait and characteristic of the white man" (1). Vestiges of this racist legacy persist today in the West in the critical reception of the works of African artists. It underwrites the reluctance to accord intellectual sophistication to African artists, and the hesitance to grant the legitimacy of Africa' s cultural paradigms in shaping the evaluative lens by which the creative expressions of Africans are framed. Nowhere is this ideological posture most evident as in the evaluation of the works of Nigerian's preeminent artist, Benedict Chukwukadiba Enwonwu.
In the colonial quest to position Europe at the center of analysis, minimal attention is paid to the creative politics of modern African artists. Instances of the artists representation of a white man or white woman are often unimaginatively explained away as instances of Africans' fascination with, or reverence for, the white man. The pervasive depictions of Tarzan on the side of mammy wagons, lorries, and luxurious buses are rarely seen for what it is, which is, the lunacy of a half-naked white man running around aimlessly in a jungle with animals for relatives and companionship. In an attempt to occupy the cultural high ground, hardly do the EuroAmerican interpreters of African visual forms of representation consider the rationale of art from the African perspective. For this reason, most miss the possibility that African artists could harbor revolutionary aspirations, or that they may be engaged in subversive activities even as they feign civility. Race representation, the depiction of white people in paintings and sculpture, in fact, has provided occasions in which imperial power relations are dramatically reversed so that the white oppressor becomes the loser in counter-hegemonic narratives.
In this essay I shall investigate the revolutionary anti-colonial politics underlying the production of the bronze portraits of Queen Elizabeth II by Enwonwu. I shall focus on the performative role these sculptures, formerly at the House of Representatives in Lagos, Nigeria, were designed to play. Of special interest is the symbiotic relationship of art and ritual, and the subversive way art production metonymically created a context for ritual invocation. The use of the naturalistic style achieved revolutionary potentials in shielding anti-colonial goals. This atavistic struggle between the colonizer and the colonized becomes obvious once we abandon both the colonizer's imperial gaze and its simplistic racialized interpretations. Shifting, as Enwonwu had insistently urged, from the Western conception of art and aesthetics to the appropriate Onitsha-Igbo conceptual framework reveals a different explanatory terrain. Indeed, culturally centering this artist and his work, as is routinely done for artists in Europe and the United States, constitutes the only meaningful way to apprehend the counter-narratives of resistance and anti-domination uprisings that informed the production of the Queen's bronze portraits.
In a truly racially neutral context in which outstanding achievement is the yardstick for documentation, there is no question that Enwonwu would need no introduction. With works at the United Nations, in the private collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the National Gallery of Art, Nigeria, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, Federal German Government, United States State Department Building, Washington D.C., and the Commonwealth Institute in London, he has earned a respected place in the annals of art. That the recognition eludes him is not unconnected to racist expectations that African art must be visibly different to be acknowledged. Enwonwu attained international repute while Nigeria was still a colony of the British Empire. Born in Onitsha in 1921, he was introduced to carving by his sculptor-father. His appreciation for the Igbo conception of art comes from his belief that art is suffused with spirit force and energy, and that Western art is too much wrapped up with the physical. In his view, "Art [by which he means nka] does not imply good colors, lines and shapes, nor do these make up art (2). Art ... is not a quality of things, but an activity" (3) that "objectifi[es] ... the artist's beliefs, his feelings, meanings or significance, and volition" (4). The works produced under this condition of inspiration are both works of art and spirit-receptacles.
Two years after graduating from High School, Enwonwu received a scholarship to study art at The Slade School of Art. He graduated with First Class Honors in 1947, and then enrolled in a postgraduate program in Social Anthropology at the University College, London. He received his Master's of Art degree in 1948. He entered the program principally because he was disturbed by the racist rhetoric in England in the 1940's, and anthropology seemed to offer a space for the scientific study of the races, their physical and mental characteristics, customs, and social relationships. After enrolling in the program, he discovered the invidious dimension of the discipline and that the emphasis was on "primitive peoples and their cultures." The real objective of anthropology was the facilitation of the colonial agenda, "to create an intellectual barrier which makes it extremely difficult for most Africans to be considered qualified to play an important part in the development and preservation of their art" (5). Though he was elected Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (FRAI) after his study, he remained distrustful of the discipline and disenchanted with its practices.
Shortly after graduation from University College, Enwonwu was appointed Art Supervisor by the Colonial Government in Nigeria. The appointment required him to function as the nation' s official artist and artist-ambassador. As part of his duties, he executed major art commissions for the government, represented the country in diverse international art events, and exhibited in London, Paris, New York, Boston, and Washington. The mid-1950's was a significant time in Enwonwu's life. In 1955, he was awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) for his contribution in the arts, and a year later, he received permission to produce an official portrait of the Queen. The latter put him in the class of a small select group of artists that have been so honored. The recognition was historic for a variety of reasons: he was a youthful thirty-four years, he was the first black artist to be accorded permission to produce an official portrait of a European monarch, and the Queen actually sat for her bust and full-length bronze portraits (6). The completed works were exhibited at the Gallery of the Royal Society of British Artists and Tate Gallery in London in 1957 before onward transportation to Nigeria.
From 1949 to 1994, Enwonwu lived a grueling life as an artist, artist-ambassador, administrator, and educator. He blazed an impressive path for African artists establishing an enviable record of achievements. By his death in February 1994, he had steadfastly pushed the plasticity of wood through exploring its formal limits in sculptural forms. In the area of painting, he had explored, re-translated, innovated, and extended our understanding of dance movement, by focusing on the artistic essence of such dances and mmuo (masks) forms. Unlike the European artists of the period who willingly ignored political issues in their art, Enwonwu devoted enormous attention to the politics and the multiple sites of operation of colonialism. He was aware of the power of visual representation in illuminating, distorting, or erasing people's realities and emancipatory struggles. For this reason, he directed his art to combating, in a non-propagandist way, the psychological effects of colonialism and racism.
Some who are unaware of Enwonwu's anti-colonial politics have quickly concluded from his professional relationship with the Colonial government that he was a collaborator. Unable to understand how he could be morally opposed to a system that served him so well, others who are aware of his anticolonial politics, are convinced that his politics were a shrewd attempt to deflect attention from his collaboration with the British and to give historical relevance to his actions. To interpret the historical Enwonwu in this light is to miss, however, the complex nature of colonial rule and subjugation, and to ignore the peculiar nature of life under colonial rule. Enwonwu's professional success as an artist derived entirely from the excellent quality of his work. The fact that he worked within the colonial administration cannot be construed as evidence that colonization was acceptable, or that he was a collaborator. Enwonwu never concealed his distaste for colonization and racial domination. As an anti-colonial activist in the heyday of British rule, he espoused the political ideology of Pan-Africanism while still a student at the Slade. By his own admission, he joined the Oxford Union "a purely political organization in Britain that had nothing to do with art" (7). This political affiliation offered him an alternative intellectual space for critiquing the European construction of creativity, art, aesthetics, political structure, and reality. From the benign liberal politics of the Oxford Union, he progressed to the more radical counter-domination politics of the London-based West African Student Union (WASU). In the mid-1940's in Britain, the work of George Padmore and Jomo Kenyatta in the Pan-African Federation, and of Kwame Nkrumah in the West African National Secretariat (WANS) helped to transform liberation theorization into revolutionary protest movements.
Political activism revealed to Enwonwu the complex shifting nature of the colonial process and the multiple sites of inequities inherent in the structure. These sites were exposed as prominent political figures in different parts of the British Empire who called for the dismantling of the British Empire (8). In the arts, Negritude emerged as the cultural arm of Pan-Africanism. Articulated by Léopold Sédar Senghor of Senegal and Aimé Céasire of Martinique, Pan-Africanism stressed the need to capture the self-expressive manner of African cultural life, and under-scored the importance of self-pride as a basis for personal liberation. Using the concept of African Personality as a model of cultural action, Enwonwu merged his political beliefs with his visual representation (9), without sacrificing artistic excellence for political expediency. Membership in the West African Writers' and Artists' Club in London provided him with access to artists, Vincent Kofi and Kofi Antubam of Ghana and the Senegalese artists Papa Ibra Tall and Iba N'Diaye, with whom to solve the technical questions that arose in the course of their political work. Reflecting on those times, Enwonwu stated, "[W]e were all so conscious of the struggle against colonialism, and of nothing else. We just wanted the colonial empire to end in Africa. . . . If we painted any picture it was about this freedom. If we sang a song, if like Senghor we wrote or recited poems, we philosophized. You find that in those days all the leaders of Africa were inspired" (10).
In the course of his exemplary career, Enwonwu had his problems with Euromodernism. Part of his misgiving centered on the appropriation of African art and the subsequent devaluation of the socially affirmative aspects of African culture and life. The other part is based on ideological differences. The notion of creativity that Enwonwu valued stressed a connection between a certain class of sculptural objects and their performative role. In his view, nka (art, creativity and creative expression) is an "invocation of ancestral spirits through giving concrete form or body to them before they can enter into the human world" (11). Treating art as a ritual of embodiment positions the artist to appreciate the sacral aspect of creation, and to confront the responsibility of infusing life into mundane physical objects. In his youth, he had perceptively noted the relationship between the spirit-related function of sculpted objects and their placement in family shrines at Onitsha and, in site specific installations at sacred spaces in Uyo and Calabar. In Benin, he witnessed the bronze sculptural forms on the mud platforms in family shrines. This relationship not only established that sculptures performed spirit-related tasks, they offered a compellingly different way of thinking of sculpture. Rather than thinking of it in the Euromodernist sense as physical objects with a completely visual role, one could think of sculptural forms as spirit receptacles to be energized and placed at sites where they are expected to act on their environment.
The difference between Enwonwu's view of art and the modern view is that in the former in which the concept of nka is dominant, artists consciously seek access to inner metaphysical knowledge, while artists in the modern view leave such matters to organized religion. On the older view, inspired imagination is required to apprehend creative forces, and spirit apprehension and embodiment constitute the basis for artistic creation. By attending to this close relationship between visual representation and cultural beliefs, Enwonwu successfully rescued for posterity the transformative element of creation that is central to Igbo conception of creativity. By so doing he challenged the underlying physicalist philosophy of the popular view of "art for art's sake," indicting modernist artists for their abdication of their moral responsibility and leadership. In some of his own works he demonstrated the process for recovering the principles of invocation and enactment, and effectively displaced the notion of physicality and inertia at the heart of the Euromodernist conception of sculpture. Conceptually stepping into the metaphysical dimension of nka, he placed his works on a different ontological basis even as he appeared to be "wedded" to the Academy style, and appeared to practice art in the Western vein. As he succinctly put it, "[W]hen I use the pure art form of my father's images and I use my experience, academic knowledge, and my political motivations, I ... arrive at a point where realism and symbolism can meet. That to me is art. What will result and survive is the continuation of the aspirations of African people, their dignified way of life, their beliefs, their dreams, and their yearnings for intrinsic lasting values that are encapsulated in the new form" (12).
Proud, urbane, Christianized, yet still steeped in the spiritual values of his culture, Enwonwu carried, molded, or separated the different facets of his identity as conditions demand. Although he espoused Negritude with his Francophone counterparts, unlike them he did not face the debilitating psychological problem of self-doubts that is the staple of the French assimilation policy. Emerging from the indirect rule reality of British colonialism, Enwonwu retained a stronger sense of his cultural identity and place in the colonial world of the first half of the twentieth century. As a result, he publicly dismissed as nonsense and a reflection of ignorance, the racist narratives which he encountered in the 1940's in England. Rather, viewing himself as the heir of an honorable heritage, he exhorted "the gods of (his) ancestors to tell (him) what art is and for what purpose it exists" (13) and he used the techniques he learned from the Slade to reproduce his ideas.
Because his creative philosophy underscored the metonymic character of objects, his works simultaneously occupy several states of existence. They are many things at the same time. In their specialized role as concretized incantations, however, sculpted objects enact the idea of embodiment by becoming instantiations of whatever ideal, objective, or prayer that was the motivating rationale for creation. Enwonwu's creative stance marks an important distinction between the idea of art as an immanent quality in things, and art as a relational quality. The stress on the idea of relationality is that we make our art and art is what we make of it, including investing it with goals and meaning, and the power to change our circumstances.
From 1947 to 1957, Enwonwu pursued his anti-colonial objectives of cultural freedom through visual representation. At a time when the positivist ideology of "art for art's sake" counseled the separation of art and politics, he unapologetically deployed his art to the political struggle for independence. His most profound, anticolonial statements were memorably stated in 1957, in his bronze bust and full-figure bronze portrait of HRH Queen Elizabeth II (14). Enwonwu set the production in motion by presenting then Colonial Secretary, Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd, with a proposal to execute a bust and a full-length portrait in bronze of the Queen (15). The proposal was tabled to her Majesty in 1956, and was accepted the same year by the Queen. The timing was auspicious since Enwonwu had just been awarded an MBE for his contributions to the arts less than a year before, and the Queen had just completed a royal tour of Nigeria in 1956 in which she had been warmly received.
Enwonwu's sculptural incantation began with sittings at Buckingham Palace, which later moved to his Maida Vale studio when the transportation of the bust from the studio to the palace became too cumbersome (16). Completed in ten months in 1957, the bust and full-length figure of the seated Queen were cast in bronze (17), then exhibited at the gallery of the Royal Society of British Artists, in London, and also at the Tate Gallery. Although they were acclaimed internationally as Enwonwu's greatest works, the sculptures sparked intense controversy (18). Their Negritude statements were prophetic, not in charting a new artistic direction, but in the daring political statement they made.
In modeling the features of the young Queen, Enwonwu had taken liberties with the royal lips. Widening them, he gave them a fuller, sensuous more becoming pout. In so doing, he boldly inscribed an African aesthetic ideal of womanhood on the Queen's visage, the fountainhead of British imperial rule (19). While the political ramifications of this act were missed, the artistic significance was not lost on the British art establishment, which perceived the inscription as an audacious rejection of their twentieth century European aesthetic ideals, with its concept of thin-lipped womanly beauty. Stunned by the act, the art critics responded sharply in editorials. The Empire telegraph crackled from London, England to Christchurch, New Zealand with news about this Africanized bronze portrait of the Queen (20). Screaming headlines described the "controversy" in sensational terms-"The Queen Through African Eyes." Speculations as to the possible rejection of the sculptures were cut short by the Queen's official endorsement of them. The bust was mounted on a black marble plinth and, with the full-figure portrait, was sent to the House of Representatives in Lagos in 1958. The seated full-figure portrait was installed in the courtyard, while the bust was placed inside the chambers of the House. It joined the Speaker's Chair (21), a pair of doors and plaques carved by Enwonwu (22), and a group of murals he had painted.
Although, many correctly saw this substitution of European for African values as a political commentary on European aesthetic imperialism, they missed the more important incantatory dimension of the work. Too many people focused on the physical over the metaphysical. What many then, and now, have failed to grasp in responding to these portraits of the Queen is the subversive metaphysical message which Enwonwu deliberately refused to disclose. He prevaricated. His aestheticized comment that he had simply widened the royal lips to make them fuller and more becoming satisfied many enquirers since it suggested that this was merely a physical protest against aesthetic imperialism. Yet, this calculated physically-grounded explanation masked the metaphysical dimension of the act by treating the entire action as a symbolic gesture. Stripped of its revolutionary edge, the action becomes an ineffectual gesture, a vain cry for attention. However, correctly understood, the transposition constitutes the first stage in the rite of transubstantiation that alters the imperial objective by transforming the face/spirit of the British Empire. According to the mystical principles of spirit embodiment, a person's spirit may be captured and contained so that his or her intentions could be changed through auto-suggestion. Thus, within the metaphysical scheme of action, one way to free oneself or group from bondage is to neutralize the power of the oppressor, by containing it. This is what Enwonwu did with the portraits.
A culturally grounded interpretation is needed to illuminate the significance of Enwonwu's solicitation and his Africanization of the Queen's portraits. Such a grounded interpretation transgressively subverts the central logic and materialist ideology of any artistic explanation that fails to comprehend the world in a similar way. On the latter framework, art is in a metonymic (symbiotic) relationship with other activities, and so sculpted objects are simultaneously artistic works and ritual objects. Given this, the bronze portraits of the Queen are receptacles in which spirits may reside, and specified wishes and thoughts may be contained. For precisely this reason, verisimilitude in representation was shunned in diverse parts of Nigeria prior to the rise of both photography and Christian beliefs. Sculpting another's likeness was thought to expose one's spirit to psychic manipulation by leaving it vulnerable to containment. Thus, to an anti-colonial activist who was aware of the ritual practice of spirit-containment, he or she was also more aware that political liberation is secured through using all available resources, including mystical means, to obtain physical liberation.
That the portraits are containment receptacles as well as public statues is explained by the fact that Enwonwu proposed to the Colonial Secretary (23) to execute a portrait in bronze of the Queen. In making the offer, he was aware of the following: that such a prestigious commission would enhance his career, and this is what some people would focus on; that the Colonial Government would appreciate the symbolic importance and glamour of having a renowned artist from the colony produce the bust of the Imperial Crown for the colony's House of Representative; that an appropriate vessel for spirit-containment was important to securing an efficacious ritual; and that he could exploit assumptions to mask his underlying objectives. Since there was no way the Queen was going to come calling for a portrait, and there was the very real possibility that a British artist would be given such a commission, Enwonwu had to seize the initiative in obtaining the Queen's consent to this rite of liberation. Although, he stood to gain professionally if his Trojan-horse proposal was accepted, he was aware that he would be represented as servile and of shamelessly seeking validation from the colonial masters. Regardless of this possible damage to his reputation, he presented his proposal knowing the importance of seizing the power of representation from an imperial power that claims a people as colonial subjects. Of course, those who are firmly located in a Eurocentric framework would fail to see the resistance in the act because they tend to see Africans as lacking revolutionary spirit. Within the anti-colonial movement, however, and the metaphysical scheme of his Onitsha culture, a different interpretation emerges that represents the proposal as establishing a ritual pathway to self-determination.
For the dramatic reversal of imperial power entailed by this act, the site of Enwonwu's anticolonial political statement was carefully chosen. The royal visage and body embodied the British Empire. To the colonized world of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean it was a symbol of imperial rule and its subjugation. Seemingly functioning as an artist located within the Western framework, Enwonwu shifted to the Igbo conception of art to avail himself of its metaphysical precepts. He knew that for the colonial subjects of the Crown to be free, it was also crucial that the "royal head be bound." After all, this was the most pervasive seal of British power. As an Imperial seal, he was aware that the Queen's head circulated profusely, occurring in stamps and even the lowest currency denomination of far flung regions of the Empire. In its ubiquity, the monarch's head psychically regulated trade, psychically commodified life by controlling labor and its terms of exchange, and psychically monitored communication. Thus to secure freedom, it was crucial that the pervasive psychic force of this imperial seal be reigned in and neutralized.
The metonymic conception of art of his Onitsha heritage allowed Enwonwu to cloak his objectives and to transcend the limiting positivistic conception of Euromodernism that constrains both the power of objects and the efficacy of our psychic lives. On the positivists view, war or politics rather than creative expression or art enables people to overcome oppressive conditions. But on the metaphysical scheme in which the concept of nka finds its home, and in which relationality rather than individuation is the organizing force, creativity constitutes a pathway to liberation. Since things are relationally linked, it is believed that a corrective measure initiated in one domain has relational impact on another. Metonymically treating the bust and full-figure portraits as art and as aestheticized aja (or sacrifice) means that the artistic production of these portraits can (meta)physically/psychically (ichu aja) be deployed to prod the Crown into granting independence to its subjects. That Enwonwu's aesthetic sacrifice was successful is evidenced by the Queen's endorsement of the bust in the face of Eurocentric indignation.
In officially accepting the Africanized bust, an act that preserves intact the principle of artistic license, the Queen as the official head of the Empire inevitably accepted the immanent imperatives of the aja (sacrifice). In accordance with the obligatory principles of the ritual, she (and Britain through her) was bound by nso ani (the Earth's sacred law) (24) that was activated by the sacrifice. The law committed her to grant expeditiously the wishes inscribed on her visage, and to permit the peaceful emergence of Africa out of her imperial head and power. Significantly, less than three years after the execution of these bronze portraits, Nigeria peacefully became independent. Indeed, the African face that Enwonwu envisioned in the Monarch's face emerged in full form in the 1960's as the indomitable, irresolute will to freedom transformed the landscape of Africa.
Race and visual representation interweave in intricate ways to establish the outlines of explanation. To understand the meaning of Africans' representation of their racial other, African cultural paradigms are needed to unravel the objectives of sculptures and paintings that were produced during the anti-colonial struggle. As Enwonwu revealed, critics and art historians need to "know the mind of the artist" and to base their interpretations of modern African art on "philosophical ideas," since the artist is responding to "social, economic, educational, and even religious changes ... taking place in ... countries" (25). It would be a mistake to trivialize the legitimacy of the offered interpretation and to dismiss the efficacy of Enwonwu's action on the ground that the process of independence was already well on its way. While that may very well be true, historical evidence shows, however, that independence was not a done deal. Familiarity with the history of the period reveals that although Nigerians had been engaged in constitutional talks since 1945, difficult conditionalities were imposed by the Colonial Office in London to further its own imperial agenda. Independence was not in the cards for Africans. On September 9, 1941, the British Premier Winston Churchill had explained to the House of Commons that clause three of the Atlantic Charter, which conceded "the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live," applied only to the white peoples of Europe under Nazi rule. In his view, the conditions of this clause was a separate issue "from the progressive evolution of self governing institutions in the regions and peoples who owe allegiance to the British Crown" (26).
Given this official declaration of the British Government, obstacles were accordingly placed on the path of colonized peoples in various parts of the world. In Nigeria, for instance, Governor Richardson drew up a constitution that was touted as the constitution for the new independent nation of Nigeria, but which was implicitly structured to work against the unification of Nigeria into a centralized state with a common identity. Faced with mounting criticism, that constitution was replaced in 1952 by the hastily drawn- up, short-lived MacPherson constitution. In 1954, the Lyttleton constitution was drafted to address the inherent weaknesses of the MacPherson constitution. Although this constitution remained in place until independence in 1960, the manipulative ploys of the colonial government, especially Britain's balkanization of northern and southern Nigeria, left severe structural rifts and conflicts. These could have preempted independence in 1960, as it had done in 1956. The point is that at the crucial historical juncture when Enwonwu created the portraits, independence was not a certainty and an abrupt reversal of the path to self-determination was still possible. There is no question that to fully appreciate the colonial and contemporary politics of visual representation, the underlying artistic philosophy of Enwonwu's is needed to grasp the historic and unprecedented nature of the bronze portraits and the decline of the British royals.
1. West Africa, 26 July 1924, quoted in Michael Crowder 1962, 264.
2. Ben Enwonwu, "The Evolution, History and Definition of Fine Art (2)," West African Pilot, Friday, May 6, 1949, 3.
3. Enwonwu, West African Pilot, Friday, May 6, 1949, 3.
4. Enwonwu, "The Evolution, History and Definition of Fine Art (3)," West African Pilot, Tuesday, May 11, 1949, 2.
5. Ben Enwonwu, "Problems of the African Artist Today," Présence Africaine, 8-10 (June -November 1956), 177.
6. Drum (East Africa), May 1958, 36.
7. Interview, May 22, 1989.
8. These figures were Mahatma Ghandi and Pandit Nehru of India, Gamel Nasser of Egypt, Kwame Nkrumah of then Gold Coast, now Ghana, Nnamdi Azikwe of Nigeria, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
9. Interview, May 22, 1989.
10. Interview, July 1989.
11. Enwonwu, 1968, 421.
12. Interview May 1989, 22.
13. Ben Enwonwu, "The Evolution, History and Definition of Fine Art (1)," West African Pilot, Thursday, May 5, 1949, 2.
14. By 1955, Enwonwu had been awarded an M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire) for his contributions to the arts. This recognition made him one of the youngest holders of that award in the Commonwealth.
15. West African Review (London) no. 28 (352), 1957, 2.
16. Drum (East Africa), May 1958, 36. In Enwonwu's personal papers is a 1955 photograph of the Queen inspecting her statue in plaster form. Also see West African Review (London) no. 28 (352), 1957, 6.
17. The bronzes were cast by Galicie from the plaster molds made by Mark Mancini. West African Review (London) no. 28 (352), 1957, 6. A Nigerian painter and sculptor, Abayomi Barber, who worked in Mancini's studio also confirmed this during this writer's interview with him in, March 1994.
18. Drum (East Africa), May 1958,35-37.
19. Issues surrounding this bust were discussed with him on various occasions, but especially during his birthday celebrations in July 1991.
20. The lead line of November 11, 1957 of Christchurch Press New Zealand newspaper. The event was also featured in Otago Daily Times, New Zealand. The cutting had been preserved by Enwonwu who first showed it to the writer in July 1989, with discussions following in July 1991.
21. Drum (East Africa), May 1958, 36.
22. Francis Osague states that his uncle Felix Idubor worked with Enwonwu in competing these commissions. As an assistant to his uncle, he (Osague) worked on the plaque carvings some of which were done in Idubor's studio at Tinubu Square. Interview, March 1994 at foyer of National Gallery of Modem Art, Iganmu, Lagos.
23. See West African Review (London) no. 28 (352), 1957, 2.
24. The sacredness of the earth is inherent in Igbo conception of life. This is why the earth is frequently referenced as an altar. People are constantly reminded to speak circumspectly, since words uttered on the earth-altar are oaths.
25. Source and attribution unkown.
26. Cited in Esebede 1982, 146.
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