The New Sacred Art Movement – A Proud Art Legacy Continues

Meet some of the generation-spanning team committed to 'Art as an expression of the Sacred'.

Ọjà Oǹtótóo: During Restoration by Saka AremuOriginal Source: Adunni Olorisha Trust/ Osun Foundation

Talent and leadership moves from father to son

Adebisi Nurudeen has been leading the New Sacred Art Restoration Team since 2020. He trained under his father, Adebisi Akanji, for many years and is now training a new generation of restoration artists and artisans himself.

Adebisi Nurudeen (2008)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Multiple talents

Adebisi Nurudeen is also a master woodcarver, who – like all of the artists of the New Sacred Art Movement – brings a modern interpretation of traditional Yorùbá art into his work.

Adebisi Nurudeen (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Carrying on the family tradition

Formerly under the direction of Sangodare Ajala, he has also been responsible for mentoring and training the next generation of restoration artists in the Ọ̀ṣun Òṣogbo Groves, including his own son Toheeb.

Adebisi Toheeb Adesola (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Three generations committed to preserving New Sacred Art

Grandson of Adebisi Akanji and son of Adebisi Nurudeen, Adebisi Toheeb Adesola is a university graduate with a passion for cultural preservation.

Oladunni Keshinro (2021) by Olusola Otori and Molara WoodAdunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Chief Priestess Oladunni Keshinro

Restoration Team Member 

Oladunni Keshinro (2013)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Chief Priestess Oladunni Keshinro

Oladunni has been a restoration team member for many years. She is the sister of Priestess Adedoyin Talabi Faniyi, Susanne Wenger’s adopted daughter.

Oladunni Keshinro is also a very talented àdìrẹ textile artist.

Kikelomo Oladepo (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

With Kikelomo Oladepo the family art-legacy continues

Kikelomo is a textile artist who was born into a family of traditional artists.  Her mother was a traditional textile maker and her father, Jinado Oladepo, was a renowned bronze caster.

Kikelomo Oladepo (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Committed to traditional Yorùbá values

At the age of 15 Kikelomo seized the chance to train as an artist with Susanne Wenger. She uses traditional àdìrẹ techniques, cassava paste and indigo, to interpret Yorùbá mythology in a completely free and modern style. 

She runs the art shop in the Susanne Wenger house.

Kasali Oladepo: Portrait of a BronzecasterOriginal Source: Adunni Olorisha Trust/ Osun Foundation

Kasali Oladepo

Kasali Oladepo, son of Jinadu Oladepo, is an Ogbedou or bronzecaster. He comes from a family lineage who create traditional bronze objects, largely used for ritual purposes and is one of only three members of the NSA Movement who all come from families where art is hereditary. 

Moshood Alade Adeniran (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Moshood Alade Adeniran

Moshood Alade Adeniran is the son of Jinadu Oladepo and continues to cast in brass and bronze with the signature creativity and modernism of New Sacred Art.

Ojewale Tunrayo (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Tunrayo – talented granddaughter of artist Ojewale Amoo

Ojewale Tunrayo excels as an artisan working in cement. Inspired by her grandfather, Ojewale Amoo, creator of the Egúngún walls in the groves, now Tunrayo ensures that they will last.

Bintu Lamidi (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Bintu Lamidi

Bintu Lamidi has worked for decades with the New Sacred Art Movement as a labourer. She used to mix the cement for Susanne Wenger up until Susanne stopped working in the groves.

Bintu continues to work as a member of the restoration team at almost 80 years old.

Bintu Lamidi: New Sacred Artist (2020) by Abiodun OmotosoAdunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

From labourer to artisan and artist

Bintu Lamidi creates imaginative small cement figures which are sold in the shop in Susanne Wenger’s house on Ibokun Road.

Adeyemi Oseni: Restoration Artist and Member of the New Sacred Art Movement (2015)Original Source: Adunni Olorisha Trust/ Osun Foundation

Adeyemi Oseni

Adeyemi Oseni worked for many years as an artisan assisting Susanne Wenger, Adebisi Akanji, Ojewale Amoo and Saka Aremu create their beautiful and monumental sculptures in the Groves. 

He creates cement sculptures depicting Yorùbá deities in his own unique style.

Adeyemi Oseni: Working On Three Masquerades Bas Relief (2016) by Adeyemi OseniOriginal Source: Adunni Olorisha Trust/ Osun Foundation

Adeyemi Oseni – artistic talent refined

Adeyemi Oseni has developed and improved his skills over the years and he is now an experienced restoration artist.

Raimi Taofik (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Raimi Taofik

Raimi Taofik was a bricklayer when he joined the New Sacred Art restoration team in 2016.
He was first recruited to restore the cement floor surface outside of the Ilédì Oǹtótóo Shrine and became fascinated by the work and showed enormous talent as an artist.

Nurudeen Gbadamosi: Stone Carver (2020) by Abiodun OmotosoAdunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Nurudeen Gbadamosi: master stone sculptor of the deities

Following in the footsteps of his father, Buraimoh Gbadamosi, Nurudeen carves impressive sculptures of the deities in stone.
He experiments with new finishing techniques in his current work.  

Nurudeen Gbadamosi (2022)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Nurudeen Gbadamosi

Years of practice have perfected his method and style.

Akinyosola and Tayo Akangbe with their father (2019)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Talented young artists follow in their father’s footsteps

Akinyosola and Tayo Akangbe create impressive wood sculptures in the style of their father, master carver Kasali Akangbe Ogun, shown here in the middle.

Kujenyo Kehinde (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Kujenye Kehinde – a master restorer of shrine painting

Grandson of shrine painter Foyeke Ajoke, Kujenye learned this rare art form from his grandmother, who had carried him on her back as a baby whilst painting shrine walls in the groves.
Shrine wall paintings are a symbolic visual art form, which communicate messages to the gods.

Ajibike Ogunyemi with his son Wasiu Ajebamidele Ajibike (2008) by Helmut WienerroitherOriginal Source: Adunni Olorisha Trust/ Osun Foundation

Wasiu Ajebamidele Ajibike continues his father’s legacy

From ironmonger to artist, Wasiu learned the art of metal sculpting from his father, Ajibike Ogunyemi. 

Toyin Ajayi (2021)Adunni Olorisha Trust / Adunni Osun Foundation

Toyin Ajayi

Administrator, communicator and organiser par excellence of the New Sacred Art Restoration Team.
Toyin also works for the National Commission of Museum and Monuments as a Chief Technical Officer, Heritage Department, and is a staunch advocate of Yorùbá traditions.

The artists profiled in this story are just a few of the many artists who continue the proud legacy of the New Sacred Art Movement.

THE NEW SACRED ART RESTORATION TEAM

LEADER

Sangodare Ajala, Artist of the New Sacred Art Movement (1948 – 2021)

ADMINISTRATOR
Toyin Ajayi

ARTISTS

Adebisi Nurudeen: Lead Restoration Team Artist
Rabiu Abesu: Artist New Sacred Art Movement
Adeyemi Oseni: Restoration Artist
Raimi Taofik: Restoration Artist

ARTISANS
Afada Musibao
Bintu Lamidi
Oladunni Keshinro
Ajayi Adeyemi
Toheeb Adebisi
Ojewale Tunrayo
Oguntoye Lekan
Wasiu Oyebanji
Sodiq Adebisi
Abimbola Kenny

SHRINE PAINTER
Kujenyo Kehinde

CARPENTER
Lamidi Fatai
Ajanaku Olatunji (late)

Credits: Story

VIDEO CLIP
Isola Otori Films
Video Production: Molara Wood

PHOTOGRAPHS
Abiodun Omotoso
Adolphus Opara
AOT Collection
CyArk
Erika Cramer
Gerhard Merzeder
Helmuth Wienerroither
Osisiye Tafa

Find out more about the AOT/F’s work by visiting our website  www.aot-aof.org

Your donations will support our continuing efforts to maintain and restore the works of art in the Sacred Ọ̀ṣun Òṣogbo Groves. Thank you.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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