Thursday 23 March 2023


L-R: Ulli Beier, Demola Williams, Wole Soyinka, Peter Badejo (standing directly in front of Soyinka) at the opening of an art exhibition at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), 1967.

Barely a month after, Wole Soyinka, the most recognizable presence here, would be picked up by the Nigerian Gestapo. He would spend twenty-two months in prison, held in solitary confinement, for his views on the Nigerian civil war. Just under two decades later, in 1986, he would be the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first African writer to win it.

The legendary Ulli Beier, who arrived in Nigeria from Germany in the late 1940s fresh from the bloodied turmoil of the Second World War. He leaves a lasting, indelible mark on Nigerian arts and literature.

Peter Badejo, one of the artists whose paintings were on display at the exhibition. Sir Peter is today a world-renowned choreographer, based in London and Osogbo, knighted by the Queen for his services to British Dance.

Demola Williams (the young fashionista with the dangling belt) was 27 at the time, he is now 75 years old, an emeritus professor in the Textile Art Department at the University of Benin.

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