Veranda Post with Priest of Shango and Bata Drummer (work of art)
Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- The figures represent a priest of Shango (Yorùbá god of thunder) and a batá drummer. The priest (top figure) wears necklaces and a skirt with a face on it, has an elaborate coiffure (hairstyle), and holds ritual objects in each hand. The drummer (bottom figure) holds a batá drum and wears a hat and a diamond-patterned outfit. The batá drum is used to ask Shango to bring rain.
- A veranda is an open-air gallery or porch (with a roof) that is attached to the outside of a building. This hand-carved veranda post would have served as a column to support the roof of a porch on a cultural center in Ibadan, Nigeria. It is one of three veranda posts the artist created for the cultural center.
- Fakeye, the descendant of five generations of wood carvers, became well known in a tradition in which artists are often anonymous. He trained and traveled throughout the world and created work that connects Nigerian traditions to a globalized, contemporary African art.
Lamidi Olonade Fakeye came from a long line of Yorùbá wood carvers. After a three-year apprenticeship with a master sculptor in Nigeria, he studied and taught in Europe and the United States. As a student in France, he experimented with stone carving but eventually decided to focus on his personal interpretation of the techniques and styles of traditional Yorùbá wood carving. In 1978 he began a 30-year teaching career at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
The artist carved these veranda posts for a cultural center in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria, but the building project was canceled and the commission for a series of posts was withdrawn. At that time Fakeye had completed three of the eight posts he had envisioned. The three veranda posts (all of which are in the NCMA collection) portray, in order: a priestess of Oshun and priest of Ogun, a priest of Shango and bata drummer, and a divination priest (babalawo) and drummer.
tags: function, ritual, community
Resources for Teachers:
- Watch a video to learn what makes the veranda posts unique.
- Listen to batá drummers in Nigeria.
- Watch a video about Yorùbá religion.
Resources for Students:
- Explore Yorùbá culture.
- Watch a video of the artist at work.
- Examine another carving by this artist.