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.
Beneath the sloping roof of the left wing of the Shrine is a sculpture of the unique greeting gesture of the Ògbóni Society members. Arms are extended placing the left (feminine) fist on top of the right (masculine) fist. 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.
This Shrine has had many restorations over the decades but had nearly completely collapsed when the New Sacred Art Movement artists, led by Adebisi Akanji - Susanne’s artistic collaborator on all her major monuments - and Sangodare Ajala - the leader of the New Sacred Art Movement - rescued and rebuilt it in 2012. Twenty-three artists, artisans and labourers worked on the restoration over an eight-month period. The roofs and all the cement walls were completely recreated using high quality cement and iron reinforcement rods and netting. In the past, mainly to save costs, an earthen core was often used and then covered with cement. Unfortunately, water easily penetrated the earth and over time the walls collapsed.
Now that it has been recreated using strong materials, this magnificent shrine should last a long time, subject only to accidents created by falling trees.
In July 2020, exactly that happened, and this work of art was damaged by a large tree which fell on the Shrine. Fortunately, a group of trained artists and artisans led by the New Sacred Art Movement leader, Sangodare Ajala, were able to restore the Shrine to its original glory.