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Profile: Chief Z. O. Oloruntoba (Nigeria)

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Chief Zacheus O. Oloruntoba, in the USA, January 2000.

Chief Zacheus O. Oloruntoba is both a musician and painter. He is also an initiate of Ogun, the Yoruba God of Iron and of War. Born in Ijumu, Kawara State, Nigeria, he is a quintessentially traditional painter using vegetable dyes, hand-made papers and silk thread to create much of his work. Oloruntoba's brilliantly coloured silks and magical rice-paper works are inspired by traditional Yoruba sources. Of his paintings he says, "The dyes are not simply colours, they are medicines that endow the paintings with different therapeutic powers, depending on the figures involved and the colours used."

Besides showing work at the October Gallery, Chief Oloruntoba has exhibited in Antwerp, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva and Paris as well as Nigeria and the USA. He has participated in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, Lagos, The Commonwealth Institute, London and has had numerous one-man shows in London and New York. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at the Institute of Traditional African Studies, the University of Ibadan and at Harvard University, USA. His work has been collected by Queen Elisabeth II,  David Rockefeller, Mohammed Ali and Ornette Coleman, the jazz musician, who is also a close friend.

Article about Chief Z.O. Oloruntoba.

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