Key Ideas about this Work of Art
- This carved wooden veranda post is made up of two human figures who are separated by a patterned geometric form. The figures represent a priestess of Oshun (Yorùbá goddess of rivers) and a priest of Ògún (Yorùbá god of iron). The priestess (top figure) wears a necklace and a skirt, has an elaborate coiffure (hairstyle), and holds a ritual object with a face on it. The priest (bottom figure) wears a wrap skirt and a shoulder bag. He holds a dead bird in one hand and an ax in the other. A dog stands at his feet.
- 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 Yoruba 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 Yoruba 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in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria, but the building project was canceled and the commission for a series of posts was withdrawn.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
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