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Twins Seven Seven: Nigerian Artist of the Oshogbo School

1944 - 2011

Prince Twins Seven-Seven, 2003
(photo courtesy of the artist).

Indigo Arts exhibits work by some of Nigeria’s leading contemporary artists of the last fifty years, notably the flamboyant painter and musician, Twins Seven-Seven.

Prince Twins Seven-Seven was born in 1944 in Ijara, Nigeria. Twins was one of the original artists of the famed Oshogbo School (named for the city of that name), which arose in the newly independent Nigeria of the early 1960’s.

Nike Olenike and Twins Seven-Seven at Haystack , 1974 (courtesy of Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution).

Seven-Seven rapidly achieved international fame, with major exhibitions in Europe, Japan and Australia as well as the United States, and his work is now in museum and private collections around the world, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

As described in a citation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2005:

He is a prominent artist as well as a bandleader, teacher, dancer, actor and spokesman for Yoruba culture. His artistic works reflect a personal cosmology, drawn from Yoruba myths and stories. Twins' highly individual technique is the physical manifestation of a universe of potent forces in a state of constant treansformation. The images themselves are wonderfully complex; forms collide with colors to reveal a mythopoetic world that demonstrates his unique imaginative power.

Twins Seven-Seven, with his band, the Golden Cabretas, in 1971, as reproduced in the CD, Nigeria Special: Volume 2 - Modern Highlife, Afro Sounds & Nigerian Blues 1970-6, Sound Way Records, 2010
(photo courtesy of the publisher).

Twins Seven-Seven's autobiography, A Dreaming Life, edited by Ulli Beier, was published in 1999 by Bayreuth African Studies, Bayreuth, Germany.


Twins Seven-Seven at Indigo Arts Gallery
November 5, 2004
(Photograph © Anthony Hart Fisher 2004).

We were fortunate that Twins Seven-Seven chose to live in the Philadelphia area for much of the last fifteen years of his life. One of Twins Seven-Seven’s paintings was featured in the Philadelphia Musem of Art show, African Art, African Voices, and the museum since added a major piece to its permanent collection. His work was also featured in our African Visions show. He and his band played live at our November 5, 2004 opening.

Twins Seven-Seven, receives the UNESCO Artist for Peace award from Koichiro Matsuura, the Director-Genral of UNESCO and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo in May 2005.

In May, 2005, we received the news that UNESCO had named Twins Seven-Seven its Artist for Peace for 2005. The award was presented by the Director-General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura at a ceremony in Paris on May 25th, 2005. The ceremony was attended by His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairperson of the African Union. 2004 Nobel Peace Prize-winner Wangari Maathai also received a UNESCO award at the ceremony.


A major monograph on Twins Seven-Seven was published in 2010, Prince Twins Seven-Seven: His Art, His Life in Nigeria, His Exile in America
by Henry Glassie (published by Indiana University Press). Copies are available at Indigo Arts.

Prince Twins Seven-Seven suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in April 2011. He passed away on June 16th, 2011. Twins Seven-Seven was one of the greatest, and certainly the most celebrated, African artist of his generation.

Several tributes can be seen online, including in Next, the Nigerian Tribune, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Philadelphia Inquirer, African Colours and the African Artists blog. To read the New York Times obituary click here.

In November 2011 (through January 2012) Indigo Arts commemorated the life and work of Twins Seven-Seven with the exhibit, Twins Seven-Seven: Legacy of the Oshogbo Master.


Twins Seven-Seven in 1971.
(Photo source unknown)



The Green Cat Man and the Flying Snakes
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2004
Ink and acrylic on paper
(17" h x 14"w)

Price on request

Withdrawn



Golden Fishes in the Dark Sea
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2006
Four-color poster print, published by Living the Good News.
(20" h x 16"w)

$95 each



Baby Naming Ceremony
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
Digital pigment print of 1990 original painting.
(Epson 9800 Ultrachrome K3 Pigment Print on "English 14" Cold Press Art Paper)
(Image size 14 3/4" h. x 15 1/4"w., Sheet size 19" x 19")
Edition of 50, five copies signed and numbered by the artist, 2010

$450



Midnight Drawing in My Mind #2
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2007
Ink & acrylic w/ collage on paper
(17" h x 11"w)

Price on Request



Mamy and Child - Village Life
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2007
Oil, acrylic, ink and pastel on plywood
(23 3/4" h x 12"w)

Price on Request

SOLD



Priest and Priestess in Festivity Mood of Ibeji Ceremony
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2007
Acrylic, ink on fabric
(40" h x 39 1/4"w)

Price on request



Village Farmer Woman Leader
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2007
Acrylic, ink on fabric
(33" h x 13"w)

Price on request



Creative Shapes in Obatala's Diary II
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2006
Ink, acrylic and colored pencil on paper
(14" h x 15 1/2"w) Framed

Price on Request



The Blessed Family
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
Digital pigment print of 2006 original painting.
(Epson 9800 Ultrachrome K3 Pigment Print on "English 14" Cold Press Art Paper)
(Image size 17" h. x 13"w., Sheet size 22 3/4" x 17")
Edition of 50, five copies signed and numbered by the artist, 2010

$450



The Palm Wine Tapper
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
c.1978
Ink, pastel and oli on cloth
(50 1/2" h x 30 1/2"w)

At the entry to the lane that leads to Prince's compound in Osogbo, a palm-wine tapper sits on a bicycle, welded to Prince's design out of scrap metal. In Amos Tutuola's "Palm-Wine Drinkard", the drinard hunts for his dead tapster in the domain of the dead....

"This is when I was working on the book of Amos Tutuola, like Palm-Wine Drinker, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and something like that."

"I made a poem about whoever want me to die earlier will be killed by a palm-wine tapper bicycle, because palm-wine tapper bicycle have no insurance. It was a song from, like, nineteen seventy-four."

from Prince Twins Seven-Seven: His Art, His Life in Nigeria, His Exile in America, by Henry Glassie

Price on Request (framed)

SOLD 5/14



Great Hunter, Founder of Oshogbo
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2011
Oil, acrylic, ink and pastel on plywood
(47" h, x 27"w.)

Price on Request

SOLD 5/14



Masked Ceremony
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2010
Oil, acrylic, ink and pastel on plywood
(47 1/2" h, x 24"w.)

Price on Request



Monkey with Fish
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
c.2008 (repaired by artist 2011)
Oil, acrylic, ink and pastel on plywood
(25" h, x 25"w.)

Price on Request



Arugba Osun
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2008
Oil, acrylic, ink and pastel on plywood
(24" h, x 24"w.)

Price on Request



The Elephant Enticement
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
c.1979
Ink, pastel and oli on cloth
(32" h x 53"w)

Proveneance: Purchased by previous owner directly from the artist in 1979 at a private showing arranged by the African Sudies Center in New York.

Price on Request (framed)



The Long Eared Ghost
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
1960's
Etching, # 4/30
(15" h x 19 5/8"w)

Price on Request



King and his Subjects
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
2005
Ink, watercolor & acrylic on paper
(23 3/4" h x 18"w)

Price on Request



Best of We
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
c.2007
Acrylic, ink on unstretched fabric
(26" h x 17.5"w)

Price on request



Fisher Man
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
c.2007
Oil, acrylic, ink and pastel on plywood
(24" h x 12 1/4"w)

Price on Request



Arriving in the World of an "Ifa" Goddess of Traditional Priest & the Ifa Beads (Ifa Oracle Beads)
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
c.2007
Oil, acrylic, ink and pastel on plywood
(36" h x 12"w)

Price on request







The Hundred Faces of Oshun: River Goddess Oshun
Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011), Oshogbo, Nigeria
1973
Oil, ink and shellac on plywood. Original black wood frame by artist.
(43" h x 25 1/2"w)
Puchased directly from the artist while the owner lived in Lagos, Nigeria from 1973 to 1975.

Price on request

Twins Seven-Seven was an exciting musician, as is evident in his 2005 CD, Royal Voices. We still have a few copies available for sale below:


Royal Voices

Prince Twins Seven-Seven The Singing Ambassador
Crossover Dancehall Music
Recorded in Philadelphia. PA, USA, 2005
CD with 8 songs

$18 each


A major monograph on Twins Seven-Seven was published in 2010, Prince Twins Seven-Seven: His Art, His Life in Nigeria, His Exile in America
by Henry Glassie (published by Indiana University Press). Copies are available at Indigo Arts.

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