Artwork of match day at Highbury painted for Martin Keown goes under the hammer
- Credit: Archant
Ex Arsenal defender commissioned Nigerian artist Chinwe Ifeoma Chukwuogo-Roy to capture the pre-match excitement in Avenell Road during Invincibles unbeaten season
A painting commissioned by Arsenal legend Martin Keown capturing the visceral excitement of match day at Highbury goes under the hammer this month.
The England and Arsenal defender was introduced to Nigerian artist Chinwe Ifeoma Chukwuogo-Roy by his manager Arsene Wenger, and asked her to paint the camaraderie and anticipation before a game during the club’s unbeaten 2003/4 season.
Titled Nwankwo Kanu and other fans on Match Day at Highbury stadium, it is one of the highlights of Bonham’s Modern & Contemporary African Art Online sale on November 23 with a guide price of £3,000-5,000.
Keown, who played more than 400 games for the club from 1993-2004 and is now an Arsenal coach and BBC pundit said: “I asked Chukwuogo-Roy to depict Avenell Road on a match day because that’s where I used to drink in the atmosphere as a youth team player. I wanted something that brought back that indescribable feeling of being around the fans, and that shared experience that makes match day so special. The scene captures perfectly the excitement just an hour or so before The Invincibles take to the pitch at Highbury in their unbeaten season!”
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Chukwugogo-Roy, who died in 2013, found international fame in 2002 for her official Golden Jubilee portrait of The Queen and was awarded an MBE.
In the work she depicts footballer Nwankwo Kanu as a fan, even though he was an Arsenal player at the time. The painting was auctioned off at Keown’s testimonial dinner in 2004 and is now being sold by its current owner.
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Giles Peppiatt, Director of Bonhams Modern & Contemporary African Art department, said: “The combination of a Premier league footballer and a contemporary Nigerian artist is unique. Chukwuogo-Roy captures the joy of the shared experience which brings fans together in the name of the beautiful game. This sale offers many exciting, and topical, works and we expect a great deal of interest.”