A Little-Known Lawyer Just Made a Splash by Purchasing Kanye West’s Childhood Art After Seeing It on Antiques Roadshow

Antiques Roadshow experts valued the cache at upwards of $20,000.

Kanye West. Photo by Jared Siskin courtesy of Patrick McMullan.
Kanye West. Photo by Jared Siskin courtesy of Patrick McMullan.

A handful of artworks created by a young Kanye West that were assessed on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow last year have reportedly found a new home.

Vinoda Basnayake, who works for the Washington, D.C., law firm Nelson Mullins, tracked the works down and bought them after seeing them on the show, Page Six reports. According to the law firm’s website, Basnayake “assists foreign governments and international corporations in legislative and policy matters.” He studied at Georgetown, the Wharton School, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Basnayake did not immediately return messages from Artnet News requesting comment.

The impressive set of works features a surreal pencil drawing of a horned figure in chains, an unfinished portrait, two landscapes, and a stylized head-and-shoulders study of a figure. A relative of West’s brought them to PBS in search of an evaluation, and indicated that the artworks were just a fraction of what he owned.

Page Six reports that Basnayake couldn’t disclose what he paid due to an NDA.

West is better known for commissioning art, like the album cover art he has hired artists like Takashi Murakami and George Condo to create. But he did present a waxworks-style installation of his own devising at LA’s Blum & Poe gallery in 2016.

The artistic gene apparently runs deep in his family—as does a capacity for causing controversy.

Kim Kardashian West recently posted an image of a painting created by the couple’s daughter, North. The Internet went wild, claiming the painting was too sophisticated to be done by a child.


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