Saturday 26 May 2012

American scholar researches Nigerian pioneer cartoonist, Lasekan

Promoting educational research and scholarship on Nigerian art, the Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF) Fellowship program, has admitted another scholar, Amanda Hellman of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

Every year, scholars from reputable universities across the world are given the OYASAF Fellowship Grant to research a particular area of Nigerian art.

Amanda is an art historian and curator, whose interest is in the study of the works of Akinola Lasekan, one of Nigeria’s art pioneer artists. An important objective of her stay with OYASAF is to research into traditional African art and museum development in Nigeria.

Amanda Hellman of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

On arrival, Hellman told OYASAF team that negative and disheartening stories about Nigeria were not enough to discourage her from coming. She noted that there are very positive aspects of Nigeria, which attracted her, based on information gathered from friends in U.S. and England. This, she said made it easier to  accept the OYASAF Fellowship Grant. Though visiting Nigeria for the first time, she stated that she has so far found Nigeria to be very interesting and unlike every other place she has visited across the world.


Since her arrival at OYASAF, she has met other visiting scholars such as Professor Kazunobu Ikeya, from the National Museum of Ethnology, Japan and a lecturer of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Osun State, Southwest Nigeria, Mr. Steve Folaranmi.

Hellman also partook in the arrangement of art works at the Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island, Lagos. She has visited places of interests in Lagos such as Quintessence Gallery, Falomo, Jazzhole, Ikoyi, Nike Art Gallery, Lekki, Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA), Yaba, Jankara and Balogun markets.

  She revealed that having seen the diversified collection of OYASAF, it goes to multiply her inspiration and love for traditional African art. She expressed her high esteem and appreciation for the aesthetic value in traditional African art.

Amanda is a strong follower of Lasekan’s work, and has been introduced to some number of the artist’s works in the OYASAF collection. The works she has seen confirms the high value, style, technique and method of approach in Lasekan’s paintings coupled with the philosophy behind the artist’s work. She has extensively read articles written by Lasekan and looks forward to working with museums in Nigeria, especially the Lagos museum. 

  She intends to meet her counterparts in the Lagos, Ibadan, and Ife art circles as well as visiting artists' studios in Lagos as part OYASAF's programming for her.

  Amanda has also been studying traditional African art in Nigeria’s colonial era and therefore looks forward to her research work in OYASAF.

  She is highly impressed with the diversity and quality of the collection of OYASAF that she has so far encountered. She has experienced viewing at close range, a large number of the OYASAF collection, even though she is yet to cover much of these works which cut across all aspects of modern, traditional and contemporary painting, sculpture and photograph.

 Hellman hopes that after her research work at OYASAF, she will share the refreshing experience of traditional African art and Lasekan’s work with her academic counterparts in the U.S.   

Thursday 24 May 2012

At OYASAF, visiting Japanese ethnologist finds interpretation for a glass beads museum piece

In its relentless effort at offering research assistance and partnership with groups, institutions and individuals around the world, OYASAF shared its wealth of experience with a visiting Japanese scholar.

It happened yesterday, Wednesday May 23, 2012, when OYASAF received Professor Kazunobu Ikeya of National Museum of Ethnology, Japan. He visited under the hospices of a representative and Senior Lecturer, Department of Fine Art, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile Ife, Osun State, Steve Folaranmi. 

 Prof Ikeya visited for two main reasons: primarily to view the collection of OYASAF and its library, which is becoming increasingly popular. He also sought assistance for the interpretation of a craft work covered in glass beads, and purchased in South Africa. In the presence of Folaranmi and an OYASAF fellowship grantee, Amanda Hellman, Prof Ikeya presented the brochure of the National Museum of Ethnology that had the bead piece.
Visting Prof Kazunobu Ikeya of National Museum of Ethnology, Japan, OYASAF Fellow, Amanda Hellman of Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., Omooba Yemisi Shyllon, Chief Mrs Olufunmilayo Shyllon and Steve Folaranmi of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile Ife, Osun State during Ikeya's visit to OYASAF.  
 The work was analysed by the founder of OYASAF, Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon, and a conclusion was reached that the work covered in beads represents an effigy for the burial ceremony of an Ooni of Ife. The work was covered in glass beads with the crown of the Ooni and the beads covering the face. The throne had the crown of the Ooni at the background sewn into it in glass beads.

 Thereafter, Prof. Ikeya made a quick tour to some of the collections of OYASAF museum with particular reference to the life size bronze, stone and metal works in the garden and in the swimming pool area. He also did a quick tour of some of the galleries in the museum along with Folaranmi and Hellman.

Ikeya intends to revisit OYASAF sometime later this year for possible collaboration on research.