Muraina Oyelami, Chief
(The Eesa of Iragbiji)
Born in Iragbiji, Nigeria
Painter, Printmaker, Musician, Actor
Secondary School Certificate 1961
Certificate in Dramatic Arts (Theatre Design) Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife 1978
Dundun Drumming Training under Oba (King) Laoye, Timi of Ede 1963 – 65.
Bata Drumming Training under Ayanleke, the Royal Drummer of Iragbiji 1961 – 63
Duro Ladipo Folk Opera, Osogbo 1963 - 1966
Visual Arts Training/Workshops Attended:
Summer Art School, Mbari-Mbayo Artists and Writers Club, Osogbo 1964
Ru Van Russem (from Holland) Printmaking Workshop, Osogbo 1966
Osogbo Art School, Ataoja’s Palace Osogbo 1964 – 67
Ru Van Russem 2nd Printmaking Workshop – Ile Ife 1972
Otis Art Institut, Los Angeles 1974
Kunst Akademie, Berlin Germany 1979
Yoruba Traditional Music and Dance Instructor, Department of Music, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife 1976 – 1987.
International Tutor, Fourth Summer School (for African and Carribean Music and Dance), organized by the Black Dance Development Trust of England,
Birmingham, UK 1989.
International Tutor, Fifth Summer School (for African and Carribean Music and Dance), organized by the B.D.D.T of England, held at the Birmingham Polytechnic campus, Birmingham, UK 1990.
Prizes, Honors, Fellowships:
Gold plaque “in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of understanding between artists of the USA and Nigeria,” – Art Safari, New York, USA 1979
Best Painter – Osun Festival of Arts and Culture – OSFAC 2000, Nigeria.
“2001 Award of Excellence for Arts and Culture” – Chapel of Radio and Television, Osun State Union of Journalists, Nigeria.
“2002 Award of Excellence for Arts and Culture” – Chapel of Radio and Television, Osun State Union of Journalists, Nigeria.
“Balogun Asa Yoruba” – Title of Honor by the Association of Yoruba language Theachers of Osun State, Nigeria – 1999.
International Visitor under the auspices of Federal Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, State Department, Washington DC. 1974
Visiting Fellow –National Black Theatre, Harlem New York. USA 1973
Gast Professor - Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth, Germany 1981-82.
Artist-In Residence – Djerassi Foundation, Woodside-Palo Alto, USA 1985
Copeland Fellow – Amherst College, Amherst USA 2002 –2003
Membership of Professional Organizations:
Society of Nigeria Artists
Osogbo Artists Movement (Chairman, 1998-99)
Imole Arts Club (Life President)
Confederation of Professional Artists (2nd Vice Chairman)
Obatala Centre for Creative Arts (A resource Centre for Artists and Scholars)
Iragbiji – Osun State, Nigeria.
ILE-ONA – A Museum of Art and Archival Records, Iragbiji – Osun State, Nigeria.
Selected Exhibitions (Solo)
School of Africa and Asian Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton UK. 1967
Humanities Auditorium II, University of Ife – 1969.
Goethe Institut Lagos, 1970.
Goethe Institut Lagos, 1972.
Michigan State University in East Lansing, 1974.
Opus2 Gallery, Washington DC.,1974.
Goethe Institut, Lagos, 1981.
Whitney Young Resource Centre, USIS Lagos, 1985.
Sergeant Johnson Gallery, Western Addition Cultural Center,
San Francisco California, 1985.
Mary Porter Sesnon Gallery, University of California in Santa Cruz, 1985
Hamburgisches Museum fur Volkerkunde, Hamburg Germany, 1991
Palm Beach, Florida 1997
Gallerie am Turm, Eltville-am-Rhein, and Germany 1998
Nimbus Gallery, Lagos Nigeria 1998
Mbari Institute, Washington DC USA 2001
Selected Exhibitions (Group):
Neue Munchener Galerie, Munich Germany, 1965.
Traverse Theatre Club Edinburgh, Scotland 1967.
Institute of Contemporary Arts, London UK 1967.
Goethe Institut Lagos 1967.
University of Ife Ile-Ife, Nigeria, 1968-69.
Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA., USA 1969.
Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY USA 1969.
Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland 1969.
Civic Arts Gallery, Walnut Creek, California. 1969
Camden Arts Center, London UK 1969.
Musee de l’Homme, Paris, France 1970.
Lali Kala Akademi, New Delhi, India 1971.
Museum fur Volkerkunde, Vienna Austria 1971.
Naprestek Museum, Prague, Czechoslovakia 1972.
Newark State College, Union, New Jersey, USA 1972
The Art Society of the International Monetary Fund, Washington DC. USA 1972.
Union Carbide Building, New York, USA 1972.
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado USA 1973.
National Center of Afro-American Artists, Boston Massachusetts USA 1973.
Ile-Ife Museum, Ile Ife Black Humanitarian Center, Philadephia, Pen. USA 1974.
Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC., USA 19774.
E.B. Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, CA. USA 1974.
Krege Art Gallery,Michigan State University, East Lansing Michigan USA 1974
Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland USA 1975.
Afro-American Cultural Center, Cleveland State University, Cleveland Ohio 1975.
Africa Heritage Center, North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA 1976.
.Staatlichen Kunsthalle, Berlin, Germany 1979.
“Twenty Years of Osogbo Art” Goethe Institut, Lagos Nigeria 1980.
Metropolitan Miami-Dade Library System, South Regional Library, Miami FL. 1980.
National Gallery of Modern Art, National Theater, Lagos Nigeria 1982
Museum of Traditional Architecture, Jos Nigeria 1984
Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery, London UK 1985.
Commonwealth Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland 1985.
Aljira, Newark, New Jersey USA 1988.
Zamana Gallery, London UK 1989.
Goethe Institut, Lagos Nigeria 1989.
Tudor Hall, Monmtreal, Canada 1989.
San Jose State University Gallery 1, San Jose CA. USA 1990.
“Thirty Years of Osogbo Art”, Goethe Institut Lagos, Nigeria 1992.
MUSON Center, Lagos 1999.
Elf Village, Port Harcourt Nigeria 1999.
Two large mosaic walls, Faculty of Health Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria 1975.
Oil Paintings – State House, Lagos 1976
Mosaic Mural at Wema Bank Plc., Iragbiji Nigeria 1983.
Selected Public Collections:
Five major oil paintings and two large applique hangings by IWALEWA-Haus, University of Bayreuth, bayreuth Germany 1982.
An 8’ by 4’ Oil on hard board at Johnson Wax Company, International Council House, Racine Wisconsin USA 1976.
Mbari Art, Washington DC. USA
Five oil paintings at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Lagos Nigeria
An untitled work at Studio Museum in Harlem, New York 1974.
Early oil and oil-pastel paintings at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan.
CNN (Lady Director), Atlanta Georgia USA * Collected through Nike Gallery In Lagos*
Presidential Lodge, International Airport, Lagos Nigeria.
Selected List of Musical Performances/Lectures/Lecture-Demonstrations:
Director/Composer - ‘Ayanmo’ a music-drama performed at the All Nigeria Festival of Arts, Ibadan, Nigeria 1972.
Artistic Director – ‘Alo-Ipada’ (They Never Return) , University of Ife Festival of Arts, Ile-Ife, Nigeria 1973.
Led and Directed a production of 17-piece instrumental Yoruba music at the National Arts Festival, Lagos Nigeria 1974.
Directed and Composed the dramatization of Okot p’Bitek’s ‘Song of Lawino ‘ at Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan; Goethe Institut Lagos and the Pit Theater, University of Ife, Ile-Ife, Nigeria 1975.
Musician in ‘Oba Koso’ by Duro Ladipo performed in Nigeria and West Berlin (Germany) during ‘Berliner Festwochen’, 1964.
Actor/Musician in Duro Ladipo’s Theatre productions during the First Commonwealth Arts Festival tour in Great Britain, The Nederlands, Belgium and West Germany 1965.
Musician at the ‘Cultural Olympics’, Munich Germany 1972.
Musician in Leopold Senghor’s ‘Chaka Zulu’ , directed by Akin Euba at Serano Theatre, Dakar Senegal 1972.
Lecture-Demonstration: Inner City Cultural Centre, Los Angeles 1974
Lecture-Demonstration: Watts Cultural Centre (Watts Tower) Los Angeles 1974
Lecture-Demonstration: E.B. Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento 1974
Lecture: School of Arts and Craft, Oakland California 1974
Lecture: Moorehouse College, Atlanta Georgia 1974
Lecture: Berea College, Kentucky 1974
Lecture-Demonstration: Cleveland State University, Ohio 1974
Lecture-Demonstration: University of Wisconsin, Madison 1974
Musician at the ‘1st Horizontal Festival, Berlin Germany 1979.
Musician at ‘Africa Musica’ Festival in Florence, Milan and Rome Italy 1980.
Artistic Director/Musician – ‘Agbegijo Masqurades’ at the Singapore Arts Festival, Singapore 1982.
Fusion music/solo performances with Indian drummers in Madras, Bangalore and Bombay India 1982
Lecture-Demonstration: University of Bangalore, Bangalore India 1982
Lecture-Demonstration: Max Mueller Bhavan, Madras, India 1982
Lecture-Demonstration: Tata Theatre, Bombay India 1982
Artistic Director/Producer of ‘Oya Ko’ko’, a dance-drama adapted from Wale Ogunyemi’s ‘Be Mighty Be Mine’ performed at the Museum of Traditional Architecture, Jos Nigeria 1984.
Concert/Lecture-Demonstration: University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia 1985
Drum Recital: Canberra University, Canberra Australia 1985
Lecture-Demonstration: Rietberg Museum, Zurich Switzerland 1992
Musical Director – ‘New Earth’ , a dance-drama performed at London International Festival of Theatre, Great Britain 1987.
Composer/Musical Director for Wole Soyinka’s ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’ performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester UK 1990.
Composer/Musical Director for ‘Profile in Black’ by Bob Ramdhanie and world premiered by Kokuma Dance Company of Birmingham at the Midlands Art Centre Birmingham UK 1990.
Performance/Lecture/Art exhibition: Miami-Dade Community College Cultural Affairs Department, Miami Florida 1997.
An Evening of Drumming and Poetry – Africa House, London 1998.
Music/Dance Workshop at Asante Waa Cultural Centre, London 1998.
With Prof. Akin Euba in major concerts in Nigeria and Overseas: Instruments: A.E. Piano, Compositions; M.O. Dundun, Xylophone, Sekere and Bells. 1967-1978.
Daniel Blatt: Cello; M.O.: Dundun Germany 1981.
Helmut Beiler: Piano; M.O.: Dundun Germany 1982.
The Embryo (Jazz/Rock); M.O. Dundun and various percussion Instruments Germany 1982-87.
Tabla and Mridangam Musicians: Singapore, Singapore; Madras, India;
M.O Dundun 1982.
With Indian Ramesh Shotham: Tavil, Gatam, Mridangam; M.M. Various Yoruba percussion Instruments, Germany 1982 –85.
Tunji Beier: Gangan, Tavil, Mridangan, Kanjira; M. O. Dundun, Gudugudu;. Sydney, Australia and Germany, Iragbiji, and Ife in Nigeria 1981- 1990.
“Wie Ich Kunstler Wurde”, pp. 101-106. In: Neue Kunst in Afrika, Berlin, Reimer, 1980. illus.
My Life in Duro Ladipo Theatre (Bayreuth): Iwalewa-Haus, 1982. 16pp.port. (Duro Ladipo Memorial Series; No.1).
“Mbari Mbayo and the Osogbo Artists”, African Arts (Los Angeles) 15 (2): 85-87 February 1982.
Yoruba Dundun Music: A New Notation with basic Exercises & Five Yoruba Drum Repertoires. (Bayreuth: Iwalewa-Haus, 1989). 72pp
Yoruba Bata Music: A New Notation with basic Exercises and Ensemble Pieces. (Bayreuth: Iwalewa-Haus, 1991)
Thirteen Yoruba Songs: Transcribed and Translated by Muraina Oyelami. (Bayreuth: Iwalewa-Haus)
“Abefe”-An autobiography of Muraina Oyelami; pp.83; Edited by Ulli Beier from taped interviews with Muraina Oyelami: Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth, Germany 1993.
Manuscript of “The making of an Eesa”: Rituals and Politics Involved.
Black Orpheus (Ibadan) no. 19, March 1966, vignettes on pages 2, 9, 14, 21, 30, 44. [llus. Only].
The Art Society of International Monetary Fund Presents Works By Asiru Olatunde, Bruce Onabrakpeya, Muraina Oyelami, September 19-October 19, 1972 / introduction by Jean Kennedy Wolford. [folder]. Port. Washington, DC 1972.
Kennedy, Jean. “Muraina Oyelami of Nigeria”, African Arts (Los Angeles) 6 (3): 32 – 33, spring 1973. illus. (color).
Awoonor, Kofi. “Contemporary Art Forms,” pp. 337-346. In the author’s ‘The Breast of the Earth: A survey of the History, Culture and Literature of Africa South of the Sahara, New York, NOK, 1975.
Contemporary Nigerian Artists: Ten Artists of the Oshogbo Workshop; [exhibition helad at the New World Centre Campus Art Gallery, Miami, Florida, January 30-February 29,  [and] Metropolitan Miami-Dade Library System, South Regional Library, Miami Florida, March 7-28  text by Roberta Griffin. Miami: Miami-Dade Community College, 1980. pp.
Aiyetan, Dayo. “Osogbo Artist in a Rebirth”, Daily Sketch (Ibadan) August 30, 1980.
OKIKE (Nsukka) no. 21, July 1982. [illus. only].
Deltgen, Matthias. “Africaology instead of African Studies: New ways at Bayreuth University “ Kulturchronik Bonn 1: 46-47, 1983. illus., port. Lewis, Samelle & Bob Biddle. “Printmaking,” International Review of African America Art (Los Angeles) 6 (4): 3-54, 1985. illus. (some color).
Prutt, Sharon Yvette. “Kuntu Paintings from 1964 to 1975,” pp. 120-165. In the author’s ‘Perspectives in the Study of Nigerian Kuntu Art’: A Traditionalist Style in Contemporary African Visual Expression, PhD dissertation, Ohio State University, 1985,
Ann Arbor, University Microfilms International, 1985. See pages 623-635 for interview.
Neeley, Paul. 1995 Review of Yoruba Dundun music and Bata music by Oyelami, Muraina. EMI News 4 (2): 4-5
Kennedy, Jean. The Generic Portraits of Nigerian Artist Muraina Oyelami and Their Links to Yoruba Cosmology. Paper presented at the Seventh Triennial Symposium on African Art, Los Angeles, UCLA, April 1986. 10pp. bibliog.. [unpublished].
“Director Commends Osogbo Artists,” Lagos Weekend (Lagos) September 8, 1988.
Beier, Ulli. “Patience is the Father of Good Character: The Artistic Career of Muraina Oyelami,” pp. 69-90. In: Three Yoruba Artists: Twins Seven-Seven, Ademola Onibonokuta, Muraina Oyelami, Bayreuth, Bayreuth University, 1988 (Bayreuth African Studies Series, (12). Reviewed: Olu Oguibe, “To Cast a radiant Fog,” West Africa (London) no. 3730:229, February 13-19, 1989.
Artists of Africa; [exhibition held in cooperation with Carleton University and the Canadian Association of African Studies, Tudor Hall, Montreal, Canada, November 29-December 9, 1989. Ottawa: CUSO, 1989. 18pp. Reviewed: Ann Duncan, “Third World Will Benefit from African Art Exhibit,” The Gazette (Montreal) November 29, 1989.
“The Return of Sango”, The Theatre of Duro Ladipo: Ulli Beier; photo illus. P. 36, 42, 46, 85, 89. , Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth 1994.
“Thirty Years of Oshogbo Art”,- Ulli Beier; Muraina Oyelami – ‘Visual Experience’, Muraina Oyelami – ‘Creative Process’; photo illus. Ps. 10, 11, 13, 14, 17, 76, 77.
Conferences and Seminars attended:
African Studies Association Conference, Syracuse, NY USA 1974
‘Yoruba Identity’: Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth Germany 1982.
Duro Ladipo: 10 Years After: Goethe Institut Lagos, 1989
Special Symposium: A Passion for Difference: Ulli Beier and His Work in African Art, IWALEWA-Haus, University of Bayreuth, Germany 2002.