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 Indianapolis Museum of Art, the John F.
Kennedy Center for Performing Arts.
Figure - Lamidi Fakeye
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.
Lamidi Fakeye was born in Orangun,
Nigeria in 1928. He was given the prophetic middle name Olonade
which means "the carver has arrived." The family name Fakeye is an
honorific title that the king of Ila bestowed upon his great
grandfather for of his artistic accomplishments.
George Bamidele Arowoogun - 1945
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.
Drum by Lamidi
In 1960 Fakeye's his first son was
born and he had his first solo art exhibit 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.
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.
Lamidi Fakeye figures in private collections.
Lamidi Olonade Fakeye
1928 Lamidi Olonade Fakeye born in Ila Orangun,
1938 Carves his first sculpture and apprentices to his father.
1949 Begins apprenticeship to master sculptor George Bamidele
1955 Takes his first job as an art instructor at Holy Cross Primary
School (Lagos, Nigeria).
1960 First son is born and first solo exhibition opens at British
1962 Serves as artist-in-residence at Western Michigan University
1964 Elected president of Society of Professional Artists of
Nigeria; exhibit opens at United States Information Service
1971 Exhibit of three generations of Fakeye woodcarvers opens
1973 Received commission for Kennedy Center Africa Room doors
1978 Appointed to the faculty of University of Ife (now Obafemi
Awolowo University, Nigeria).
1987 Unveils Oduduwa statue at University of Ife; retrospective
opens at Western Michigan University gallery.
1989 Awarded Oyo State, Nigeria, Special Merit Award.
1989 Serves as artist-in-residence at universities in Cleveland,
Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta.
1995 Makes pilgrimage to Mecca.
1996 Publishes autobiography; retrospective exhibit opens at Hope
College (Holland, Michigan).
1999 Appointed Kellogg Visiting Artist for Michigan; Smithsonian