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Buraimoh Gbadamosi

Date: born 1938, Nigeria
Once a carpenter, Buraimoh Gbadamosi (b. 1936) became one of the principal sculptors for the Oshogbo shrines. Friend and neighbor Suzanne Wenger hired him to do some carpentry and then convinced him to try relief carving. After two years, Gbadamosi began to carve wood in the round. Eventually he turned his talents to stone, the medium he is best known for today.

His figures are solid and columnar works with round heads and large round eyes. Wenger describes his creations as reassuring and gentle old friends, noting that his smallest stonework represents the benevolent earth spirits, protectors of house and garden. The soft stone of these sculptures is a material sacred to Obatala, the Yoruba creator god. This fact, however, may have been irrelevant to Gbadamosi, who is both a Muslim and deeply involved in the Egungun masquerade cult that honors the ancestors.

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