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TWINS SEVEN-SEVEN, 1944 - 2011



Born in Nigeria in 1944, Prince Twins Seven-Seven ’s career began in the early 1960s. He has since become the most famous representative of the renowned Oshogbo school of painting, which is at the heart of Yoruba civilization. His work reflects the cosmology and mythology of the Yoruba culture.

Though is given name is Taiwo Olaiyi Salau, Twins Seven-Seven has chosen this pseudonym as a reference to his birth: he is the sole survivor of a line of seven sets of twins.

A multidimensional artist, Prince Twins Seven-Seven is also recognized as a singer, musician, actor, writer and poet. His work has been shown in numerous exhibitions throughout the world, notably at France’s National Museum of Modern Art – Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Houston Contemporary Arts Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. and the National Modern Art Gallery in Lagos.

His encounter with the graphic arts and painting came about in 1964 when he met a group of artists known as the Mbare Mbayo Group. This is where the Oshobgo School had it's origins.Twins Seven-Seven began by drawing on paper. Drawing and engraving have remained a constant and central reference in his work. The originality of his line comes from the fact that it appears to unfold blindly, with no plan, through a progressive invasion of the entire surface. This technique gives his paintings their extraordinary detail.

With the exception of a few paintings which represent "profane" themes, the universe of Twins Seven-Seven is thoroughly rooted in the Yoruba imagery, both religious and folkloric.

Twins Seven-Seven was named UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2005,in the presence of Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria and Chairman of the African Union. The ceremony took place on Africa Day. This was the “recognition of his contribution to the promotion of dialogue and understanding among peoples, particularly in Africa and the African Diaspora.”

UNESCO Artists for Peace are internationally-renowned personalities who use their influence, charisma and prestige to help promote UNESCO’s message and programmes.

source: "Contemporary Art of Africa", A. Magnin; UNESCO; "A Dreaming Life: Autobiography of Twins Seven-Seven", U. Beier

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