ArtistLamidi Fakeye (Nigerian, 1928 – 2009)
DimensionsWork : 20 x 23 1/2 x 2 3/4 in. (50.8 x 59.69 x 6.99 cm)
Credit LineGift of Dr. and Mrs. Bruce Haight
Lamidi Fakeye came from a family of Yoruba woodcarvers and was trained through the traditional apprenticeship system. Although he was a Muslim, most of his art depicts Yoruba and Christian subjects. Here Fakeye has created an allegorical figure of Justice using traditional Yoruba imagery. The central figure of Justice is portrayed as a priest of Shango, the Yoruba god of thunder and lightning. The priest is blindfolded to signify impartiality, while his hands hold a sword and ritual wand to signify power and wisdom. A guard and two prisoners appear beside Justice but are depicted on a smaller scale to signify the comparative insignificance of individual fates in relation to universal ideals. Fakeye was inspired to create this panel by the efforts to end military rule and restore democracy to Nigeria in 1993. Although the 1993 democracy movement was not immediately successful, continued pressure on the military eventually resulted in the restoration of a civilian government in 1999.