Ejiogbe Cultural Centre (Museum) is located Jinadu Olabode Avenue, Ejiogbe Area, Odo-Otin, Inisa, Nigeria. Address of Ejiogbe Cultural Centre is Plot 4 Jinadu Olabode Avenue, Ejiogbe Area, Inisa, Nigeria.
Plot 4 Jinadu Olabode Avenue, Ejiogbe Area, Odo-Otin, Inisa, Nigeria.
About the Centre
Ejiogbe-Ibile Stone Carvings Gallery, Ejiogbe Cultural Centre (Museum) is owned and managed by the Ejiogbe twins, Prince Taiwo and Kehinde Olabode popularly known as Ejiogbe (Twins of the World).
Omo-Oba Kehinde Olabode, who personally had an interview session with me, related to me some of their works. They were born in Odo-Otin area of Inisa, Osun State.
They were born in the early 1950s. Both twins (who are now fathers) are carvers, painters, traditional dancers and craftsmen who have showed their potential to the world beyond Nigeria. They have been to many places including America, Japan, China and others to show their ‘talent’.
According to Omo-Oba Kehinde Olabode, they never learned the art from anyone; it is a talent, natural potential which Eledumare has destined for them. He has carved stones and woods to make sculptures, painted walls, weaved Aso Ofi (traditional attire), and engaged in tie and dye and many others.
Their mother was the third wife of their father. He, together with his twin brother, is the 11th child of their parents. Their parents had lost one of their born twins (a boy) previously in the past before they later gave birth to them.
The Babalawo revealed to their parents that they would be carvers, traditional medical practitioners and farmers in the future.
Today (during the time of writing this), they’ve built a house (where the museum is located) on the portion of land that was given to them as an inheritance of their father.
In the house, they built a centre, Ejiogbe Cultural Centre which is a centre for Yoruba arts and culture.
Kehinde Olabode started to carve stones and woods since age 10. It all started with sand work and drawing images out of the formation of the cloud in the sky, according to him. They attended Ansarudeen Nursery and Primary School, Inisa.
He would make known images and imaginations from cloud formation in the sky and sometimes made drawings on the sand with his hands. So, the inspiration and the desire to engage into carving started from this age.
Whenever there were celebrations like anniversaries and others in their primary school, they would be the one to carve woods they were going to use in the anniversaries. They carved woods to look to like priest and shrines in many cases during their school days.
There is no aid the recent government has provided so far. The development of this place to make it a home of Yoruba arts and culture is a solo stuff.
According to Prince Kehinde Olabode, the only benefit that they had from the government was in the past from the federal government of Nigeria.
The National Council Arts and Culture when Pa. Michael Omokuoede was the director general, they were offered a sponsorship to carry their carved stones for exhibition in the National Theatre premises of Lagos state.
This benefit was not only for them anyway, artists like Jimoh Ibrahim, D. Seven Seven and others also benefitted from the program. These days, they spend from their pocket to produce lots of materials like these.
Sources of Material
They got their material (stones) from the road, usually where there is road construction and other road work.
These materials are hard stuff, so they would gather people of about 10-20 (depending on the size of the stone) to lift the stone in a vehicle and bring it to the cultural centre where they would start to carve them for several months until the desire image was achieved.
The carving is not an easy task. When they hit until they began to have injuries, they would stop for weeks to relieve the pain and go back again. They would do this continuously until they were able to achieve the exact images they wanted.
It is a work of imagination and a very intelligent work of life. Some of the carved stones were designed to look after deities, peoples or invaluable tools.
Many stones were thus named after heroes who were made deities like Sango, Ogun, Oya, Osun; some were people like Afonfere Oba (the king’s trumpeter), Agbomola while some were made to look after tools like ida (sword), irukere (), sekera () and others
Their major source of income comes from selling these materials. During their cultural performances in places like China, Japan and the United States, they sold their works which were staged aside as they perform on the main stage.
Some of their works are in the United States, China, Japan and several others in many places across Nigeria, including the respected palace of Alafin of Oyo, house of MKO Abiola and others.
They also receive officials of the UNESCO who record them and buy materials (that they are of normal size for them to carry to their countries).
As at the time of getting this information, they live in their house where the museum is located in Odo-Otin area, Ekunkun Street, Inisa, Osun state.
I also noticed something during my interview with them, one does not like media and one does. Prince Kehinde Olabode attended to and provided me all the necessary information I asked for and also had several pictures with me.
Because of this, I was unable to get and snap them together. During the entire process, the second brother of Prince Kehinde Olabode was observing while seating beside a carved stone at the entrance of the gallery. Both of them are good anyway, just my observation.