'Yoruba figures at the Oba's court' Hammered copper 83 x 112cm
Olatunde was discovered by Ulli Beier after finding a tiny copper earring on the street outside his house in Oshogbo, Nigeria in 1961. These earrings were inspired by the Portuguese cement lions found at the entrances to the Brazilian-style houses in the town. Beier encouraged him to make larger free-standing animals and low relief metal sheets to be used as wall decorations or door panels. Early in his career he changed from copper and brass to aluminium because of its lower cost and resemblance to silver. He was a documenter of Yoruba religious and genre activities, as well as executing commissions for the Church. His technique of silhouetting his naive animals and figures against a punched background to emphasize depth is similar to the tradition of Benin bronze plaques. A large aluminium panel was sold in Bonhams London sale of Contemporary African Art in September 2000.