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Visiting Artist: Lamidi Fakeye

October 8, 2009
Sangren Hall, room 2302
12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.

October 13, 2009
Kalamazoo College

Light Fine Arts HallĀ 
4 p.m.

Lamidi Olonade Fakeye is a fifth generation carver of the highly respected Fakeye family, and during his long career, he has achieved great fame around the world as one of the greatest African artists of modern times. He was born in Orangun, Nigeria in 1928, and was given the prophetic middle name Olonade which means "'the carver has arrived.'" 5 The family name Fakeye is an honorific title that the king of Ila bestowed upon his great grandfather for of 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 and worked with him for a great deal of time. The year 1960 was a momentous one for Fakeye as his first son was born and his first solo art exhibit opened 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 nine years later. Between 1989 and 1995, Lamidi served as artist-in-residence at several prestigious American universities.

Currently, he continues to teach at Obafemi University, and he apprentices several of his nephews so that the Fakeye family's artistic heritage will continue into its sixth generation. Throughout his career, Lamidi Fakeye has received numerous national and international awards for his work. The artist states that he carves traditional Yoruba social and mythological subjects to honor his cultural heritage, but because of his Islamic faith, his works are not intended for religious use.