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This print is an illustration from the novel titled “Ògbójú Ọdẹ nínú Igbó Irúnmọlẹ̀” (A Forest of a thousand demons) which happens to be the first novel fully written and published in Yoruba language and considered by scholars as the most significant contribution of the Yoruba language to fiction, authored by Daniel Orowole Olorunfẹmi Fagunwa (1903-1963) in 1938. The novel comprises of mythical tales of the adventure of a brave Yoruba hunter whose name was Akara-ogun aka Compound-of-spells who had reckless battle encounters with folkloric and fantasy characters comprising of weird, fiery and malevolent foes such as the fierce-looking Eru (Fear); Ijamba (Danger); the sixteen-eyed Agbako (Suffering) and the half-bird, half-human Ogongo (Ostrich-King) each time he went to the Forest of Irunmale”, the forest of four hundred spirits. He visited the forest three times, accompanied by the benevolent Iranlowo (Help), who offered him and his fellow hunters active assistance, and was confronted by difficult tasks but emerged victorious on each occasion.

Onobrakpeya captures one of such battle scenes in the novel on this piece showing Akara-ogun on the right dealing with the monstrous-looking, sixteen-eyed Agbako. The hunter can be seen seizing the monster by the neck in an attempt to deal a fatal blow and put an end to his torment and troubles on their path. According to the novel, at the end of each victorious adventure, Akara-ogun and his followers consulted with a wise man who revealed secrets and all the wisdom accumulated from their experience. The first English translation of the novel titled “Forest of a Thousand Daemons: A Hunter’s Saga” was written by Prof. Wole Soyinka in 1967 while he was in prison during the civil war and the cover page illustration was done by Bruce Onobrakpeya. It was first published in 1968, five years after Fagunwa died.

Details

  • Title: The Fight Between Agbako and Akaraogun
  • Creator: Bruce Onobrakpeya
  • Creator Lifespan: 1932
  • Creator Nationality: Nigerian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Birth Place: Agbarha-Otor
  • Date Created: 1961
  • Location Created: Nigeria
  • Physical Dimensions: 50 x 41cm
  • Type: Print
  • Original Source: Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art
  • Rights: Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Pan-Atlantic University
  • Medium: Print on Rice Paper

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