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Asiru Olatunde

(1918 – 1993) Asiru Olatunde, was born in 1918 in Osogbo. He is from a family of blacksmiths, but an illness forced him to end blacksmithing. Despite his disease, it transformed him into one of Osogbo's most famous artists today. In the 1960s, he started with jewellery before hammering his art into copper and aluminium panels. It is beating and drumming to a rhythm that allowed him to create figures and lively scenes out of recycled copper and aluminium, shaping it into a unique repoussé technique on aluminium panels. His subjects include narratives drawn from Yoruba oral tradition, Bible stories set in Nigerian settings despite him being a Muslim, and scenes from everyday life. During his lifetime Olatunde had many exhibitions. In 1965 he had a solo exhibition in Viruly Gallery Amsterdam and later at the IMF headquarters in Washington, Prague. He has worked in the collection of the Smithsonian Institute, Museum of African Art and DePaul Art Museum Chicago, the University of Bristol, and the University of Tasmania. The most recent exhibition of his work was in 2005, at the John Martin Gallery in London, where pictures hung against a backdrop of deep blue Nigerian Adire cloth. His notable artworks include Dance scenes, Scenes of hunting, Biblical scenes: Adam and Eve and The Garden of Eden, and Yoruba stories, like Animal Tree or Tree of Life. These scenes, bordered with decorative triangles and hemispheres, fill in gaps in the design. One image seen repeatedly throughout his work is the Tree of Life, a universal motif that recalls his connections to the groves of the Osun shrine. The artist passed away in 1993.