Figures and Animals Beneath a Tree

Asiru Olantunde (Nigerian, 1918 – 1993)
Circa 1960
Work : 32 1/4 in. x 4 ft. 7 5/16 in. (81.92 cm x 1.4 m)
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Hope College Collection, purchased with funds donated by Mary Vande Poel '59
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Born into a family of Yoruba blacksmiths, Asiru Olatunde was trained in traditional metalworking techniques by his father and grandfather. When health problems forced Olatunde to stop working with iron, he instead began making jewelry and household objects using copper and aluminum. In the early 1960s, the Austrian linguist Ulli Beier encouraged Olatunde to apply his metalworking skills to pictorial art. Olatunde created his metal pictures by first drawing a design on a thin metal sheet, and then hammering the image into relief using a variety of different punches. Olatunde’s designs typically depict Yoruba stories and scenes of everyday life. The subject of this panel is not clear. It portrays two men in a tree looking down at a pair of bulls, while another group of men drink and converse in a nearby house.

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