Built in the late 1960’s and early 1970s on the site of an abandoned school, Ilédì Oǹtótóo is the assembly point for the Ògbóni, Yorùbá traditionalists associated with the Earth deity.
This remarkable structure is composed of three enormous roofs which rise against the sky like giant lizards, representing the forces of the earth before mankind. It is one of Susanne Wenger’s most complex and sensitive architectural creations.
Beneath the sloping roof of the left wing of the Ògbói Shrine is a sculpture of the unique greeting gesture of the society’s members. Arms are extended placing the left (feminine) fist on top of the right (masculine) fist. In Yorùbá culture the left-hand side stands for the feminine, and the right-hand side for the masculine aspects of life. The Ògbóni salute each other and the earth by bringing their clenched fists together three times, with the thumb concealed in the palm of the hand.
Next to it on the left is the alluring sculpture of a waterlily.
Underneath the roof at the opposite end, Ọbàtálá, the god of Creation and Light, rises from the white elephant’s forehead - symbolizing that divine transcendence originates from Mother Earth.
The entry to the Shrine is underneath the middle roof and the door is in the shape of a giant paw print, referencing the connection of the Ògbóni Society to the earth.