Lamidi Olonade Fakeye

Lamidi Fakeye was born in Orangun, Nigeria in 1928. He was given the prophetic middle name Olonade which means “thelamidi 1 carver has arrived.” The family name Fakeye is an honorific title that the king of Ila bestowed upon his great grandfather for his artistic accomplishments.


Lamidi Olonade Fakeye’s career began at age Ten when he carved his first piece and began studying traditional Yoruba art under his father. In 1949, he was apprenticed to the master carver George Bamidele Arowoogun. He worked with him a great deal, right up to his death.


In 1960 Fakeye had his first solo art exhibition in Nigeria. In 1978 he became an instructor at the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife Nigeria, where he unveiled his incredible statue of Odudua.


Lamidi Olonade Fakeye is a fifth generation carver of the highly respected Fakeye family. During his long career, he achieved great fame around the world as one of the greatest African artists of modern times.


Fakeye’s work appears in many private collections, as well as the permanent collections of institutions such as the lamidi 2Indianapolis Museum of Art, the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts
A retrospective exhibition of Fakeye’s life work was held at the Smithsonian during 1999. The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened between December 1999 and January 2000. These exhibitions illustrated the living tradition of the Osi-Ilurin school that Fakeye grew from.


Fakeye served as artist-in-residence at several prestigious American universities between 1989 and 1995. Fakeye died at 84 in Ile-Ife Nigeria, on the 25th of December 2009.

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