Dusasa 1 by El Anatsui
Dusasa 1, 2007, by El Anatsui, who is based in Nigeria. Another of his tapestries sold for a record-breaking £541,250 last year. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

When one of Nigeria’s biggest media moguls began collecting contemporary African art three decades ago, he was one of the few Africans in a niche market dominated by western connoisseurs. But as African art becomes more sought-after globally, that is rapidly changing.

“Some of the things I bought just for aesthetic pleasure years ago are now worth millions,” said the wealthy businessman, who did not want to be named for fear his home could become a target for thieves.

“A lot of people on both sides of the pond are waking up to the fact you can make big money in contemporary [African] art,” he added, reclining on a golden sofa in his Lagos home crammed with expensive art from across the globe.

As African economies outperform the global average, a collectors’ scene is booming among emerging elites and a growing number of foreign buyers.


Monica Mark