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Profile: Tunde Odunlade  (Nigeria)

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Mother Nature Part II, Woodcarving on Handmade Paper, 1999, 48 x 76 cm.
This piece is for sale, from the October Gallery, for 450.00

Tunde Odunlade is one of the leading figures in the resurgence of traditional African art that came out of Oshogbo in the late 60s. A second-generation artist from Ibadan, like many of his peers he is more than just a painter, but works also with hand-made paper, print-making, batik and fibre work - besides being an accomplished musician on the flute, Agidigbo (Mbira) and Congas. A freelance artist who spends time both in Nigeria and the United States he also manages his own music and dance troupe and has several record albums to his name. He has mastered the intricate art of batik, a craft that developed from the tradition, for which the Yoruba were famous, of adire cloth dyeing.

His work has been exhibited widely in Africa, Germany, Britain, Spain and the United States, where he was the first African artist ever to exhibit at the Festival of Atlanta in 1987. His work, and the techniques he employs, show a striking originality, as in the beautiful black and white textured paper shown above. His batik pieces are likewise highly textured and almost three-dimensional, since he uses three different layers of fabric, a background layer, and then two other layers that are cut and stitched to this lowest layer before beginning the waxing and dyeing process itself. The result is a highly textural relief seldom found in batik work. "That's my own contribution to the development of batik around the world," he says, " I've never seen anyone else making batik in that way."
   

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