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Catalog Data

Lamidi Olonade Fakeye, 1928 - 2009, born Nigeria  Search this
Yoruba artist  Search this
H x W x D: 183 x 22 x 20 cm (72 1/16 x 8 11/16 x 7 7/8 in.)
Architectural Element
ca. 1968
Label Text:
Named Olonade, literally “the carver has arrived” at birth, and the fifth generation of a noted family of carvers, Lamidi Fakeye’s career was destined. He began in a traditional way, apprenticing with his own father. He became known for the range of his subject matter, working for patrons requesting Christian, traditional and non-religious themes. Even when carving such forms as staffs, helmet masks, posts and doors, they were not intended to be used in traditional contexts but to adorn private collections, churches, universities and government buildings around the world, including the Kennedy Center here in Washington, D.C. While teaching his nephews in the apprentice system, he also gave demonstrations in foreign colleges and taught at the University of Ife.
He sculpts with an adze and finishes the surface with knives, not sandpaper.
This pillar is a riff on the form of a palace verandah post, not intended to support a porch roof but only to display recurring themes in Yoruba art. The mother and child emphasize the greatest gift of the gods, the next generation. The male figure holds bird staff associated with diviners and healers and has the gourd containers and hairstyle associated with Eshu, the messenger god and bringer of change.
Wood post with two figures: top is seated female with child on her lap; bottom is standing male figure
Gift from the artist, 1972
Exhibition History:
African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2013–August 12, 2019 (deinstalled January 21, 2015)
African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2010-November 13, 2013
bird  Search this
Household  Search this
mother and child  Search this
male  Search this
Credit Line:
The Wil and Irene Petty Collection
Object number:
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National Museum of African Art Collection
Data Source:
National Museum of African Art