Born in 1944 in Ogidi Ikimu, Nigeria, Prince Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale-Toyeje Oyelale Osuntoki is a Nigerian painter, sculptor, and musician. He changed his name to Twins Seven Seven, (Ibeji Meje Meje. Ibeji in the Yoruba language), because he is the only surviving child of seven sets of twins born to his mother.
Twins Seven-Seven began his career in the 1960s in workshops with Ulli and Georgina Beier in Osogbo, a Yoruba town in southwestern Nigeria. Successful exhibitions in Prague and Munich brought him international recognition in the mid-1960s. Today, Twins Seven Seven is one of the most well known artists of the Osogbo School. “His work is influenced by traditional Yoruba mythology and culture, and creates a fantastic universe of humans, animals, plants and Yoruba gods.”
Twins Seven Seven was designated UNESCO Artist for Peace in May 2005 ““in recognition of his contribution to the promotion of dialogue and understanding among peoples, particularly in Africa and the African Diaspora”. His work has been exhibited throughout the world including the 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, Nigeria. In January 2010, the book Prince Twins Seven-Seven: His Art, His Life in Nigeria, His Exile in America by Henry Glassie was published by Indiana University Press.
Twins Seven-Seven suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in April 2011. He passed away on June 16th, 2011. He is considered to be one of the greatest and most celebrated, African artists of his generation.
To see more of Twins Seven Seven’s work, visit Indigo Arts Gallery