The UCLA School of Arts and Architecture and the UCLA African Studies Center present a talk by artist and activist Tunde Odunlade, discussing Yoruba proverbs and the importance of preserving Yoruba culture, language, and tradition.
Translation: The ABC of Proverbs: When you take away a language from its people, all that remains is mere geographical expression.
Tunde Odunlade is an internationally acclaimed print and textile artist who has exhibited, taught, lectured, studied and traveled extensively within Nigeria and throughout North America and Europe. In addition, he has performed as an actor with the Nigerian National Troop and various other theatrical organizations, and has recorded several CDs that integrate poetry and music. His current CD is on FELA and Mother titled "Fela Kare o." Tunde lives in Ibadan, in the southwestern part of Nigeria.
Tunde Odunlade is Yoruba and he says that he comes “from a background where hairdo, stylizing Gele (head tie), Fila, or dressing in certain ways carry meanings and are used to pass social commentaries, make political statements and otherwise.”
His talk will focus on the importance of language, culture and traditions of the Yoruba people. According to Tunde, "ABD Olowe, which simply means ABC of proverbs, is a step in the right direction to create the much needed awareness for all stakeholders of Yoruba language, [for people] to wake up to the task of saving the language from extinction.”
When Tunde was growing up, children were showered with folktales, talked to in parables, body language and eye contact and that’s how children learned the dos and the don’ts, some of which he says he has managed to pass down to his children, but he recognizes that they will be influenced by the era and aura that surrounds their own time. In his presentation, he will discuss the importance of the Yoruba language and passing the language and lessons to future generations.
Tunde Odunlade’s life is well described by his motto: “He who does not attempt the absurd can never achieve the impossible.”
More About Tunde, the Artist and Activist:
Tunde's art has been displayed in dozens of one-man and group shows. His work is in the collections of several institutions, including the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the State House in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as in the collections of many individuals in the United States and Nigeria.
In the early 1970s Tunde studied with Yinka Adeyemi, a member of the Oshogbo School of Art that was largely responsible for the explosion of creative contemporary art emanating from Nigeria, and at the Oguntimehin Arts Workshop, under the auspices of Obafemi Awolowo, University Ile-Ife.
Tunde's art uses both contemporary and traditional techniques. For example, he developed a unique batik applique process that builds on traditional textile print techniques to create wall hangings with unusual depth and texture, his favored technique for making his linocuts. Recently, he developed a new style he calls “floatograph” that combines the techniques of marbleizing, calligraphy, and Batik to create organic abstractions.
Tunde's images draw on the rich history of Yoruba art and culture, modern-day life in Nigeria, and his passion for music. He does not create “art for art’s sake.” Rather, he is committed to “art with a purpose,” the use of art to reach across cultural differences, to raise awareness among his own people and the international community about both the potential and the challenges facing Nigeria.
Tunde has also always been deeply committed to expanding opportunities for other artists. He co-founded the Toki Memorial Arts Centre in Ibadan, where he served as artistic director for 14 years. This center became a major force in discovering and nurturing artists who have gone on to successful international careers. He founded the International Campaign for Better Arts and Cultural Arcade (ICBACA Ltd), a corporate body that renders art services, and Tunde Odunlade Artists’ Cooperative Gallery in Ibadan.
In addition to his commitment to art and artists, Tunde has devoted considerable energy toward improving conditions in Nigeria. To this end, in 1999 Tunde founded the Nigerian Artists for a Nation Anew (NAFANA) whose goal is to encourage Nigerian artists to use their talents to help their country overcome the corruption and poverty that has plagued it for decades. Through NAFANA, Tunde curated a major exhibition entitled, “Artists and Nation Building: Nigeria at 39.” In 2001 he was commissioned by the Debt Management office (DMO) to curate a show as part of their International Conference on Sustainable Debt and Development Strategy. For the Exhibition, “Together We Rebuild a Nation,” artists were asked to depict both their dreams for their country and the ways in which oppressive external debt is hampering their realization.
Tunde also serves as an executive with the Association of Nigerians Against Corruption (ANAC).
Cost: Free and open to the public; pay-by-space and all-day ($10) parking available in lot 3.
Download File: Odulade Event 2-2-10.pdf
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