Nigerian Sculptor Bamigboye Claims His Worldwide Fame

Nigerian Sculptor Bamigboye finally claims his worldwide fame, as Yale University Art Gallery maps his 50-year career in modern art.

Oct 17, 2022By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Nigerian Artist Bamigboye
Woodcarved masks for harvest festivals can weigh up to 80 pounds, at the Yale University Art Gallery. From left foreground, a mask created by the Nigerian sculptor Moshood Olusomo Bamigboye depicting a war general; another mask attributed to Bamigboye, depicting a ruler, and a third mask, by Bamigboye, depicting a war general.


James Inexperienced, an affiliate curator of African artworks, has organized an exhibition by the Nigerian sculptor Bamigboye at Yale University Art Gallery in Connecticut. It runs from September 9, 2022, to January 8, 2023. The exhibition locates us deep within the context of Bamigboye’s social tradition. In Yale Gallery, you can see 30 of his renowned artworks.


Yale Exhibition Maps Nigerian Sculptor Bamigboye’s Life

Nigerian Sculptor Bamigboe works
Via Yale University Art Gallery


Nigerian Sculptor Bamigboye’s exhibition bears the name Bamigboye: A Grasp Sculptor of the Yoruba Custom. This exhibition maps his path from the 1920s, when he opened his studio, to his loss of life in 1975. According to the Yale Gallery, each of his 30 artworks represents the artist’s primary surviving work.


Throughout the course of the Yale exhibition, there’s a mountain that gets increasingly taller, with the cliff dwellers circling its heights. There are many people living there: including stoic farmers, armed soldiers, musicians. There are also mums with young children, and children who wave flags.


Nigerian Sculptor Bamigboye work
Via Yale University Art Gallery


The area is home to antelope and leopards. A bewildering landscape has been carved out of wood. It is implausible, but also plausible. Each component is made by Bamigboye. His ritualistic work and the work he inherited are “a present from God“, as he put it. There is a wide interdependence between aesthetic worth and non-secular efficacy. This dependency dictated a phased strategy to the act of carving itself, all the way to the final product.

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter


Bamigboye’s Woodcarving Skills

Nigerian Sculptor Bamigdoe and his work
Via Yale University Art Gallery


Wood processing contains different parts of working. You need to use different instruments for different stages. Thanks to the Nigerian Nationwide Museum in Lagos, we can see the varying instruments Bamigboye used. We see the artist’s powers of invention absolutely and spectacularly developed within a number of mountain sculptures, which are grouped together on large plinths.


Bamigboe Portrait
Via Via Yale University Art Gallery


Bamigboye was born around 1885 to a Yoruba household in Kajola. In the present-day, it is Kwara State. His experience in woodcarving became famous, because carving was a career that carried status. His colonial overlords employed him to show carving in a neighborhood faculty they’d created. They inspired him to review trendy European types and themes. Nevertheless, his varied patrons shipped work to the UK. Bamigboye’s status had even higher weight and attainment in Nigeria.


To take action requires cooperation between continents and cultures. Further, through cooperation with Africa’s finest artists, museums in the West can showcase some of the world’s most important art to a much wider audience.

Author Image

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.