1964 / 27 minutes

Directed by
Ulli Beier Frank Speed
Country of production
United Kingdom Nigeria

The film is a brief description of life in a busy commercial centre that still depends upon and retains its ancient traditions. These are based on the history of the town which was founded on the banks of the river Oshun. This river itself is one of the most important river deities of the Yoruba whose cults spread even as far as Brazil. Aduni Susanne Wenger, a chief priestess of the Obatala cult, is shown rebuilding the once neglected Oshun shrine, with her fellow artists, Adebisi Akanji, OyeWale and Lani. The Beiers show how art based on traditional pagan religion forms the foundation of the modern movement. How painters and sculptors have responded to exposure to modern techniques intelligently and sensitively introduced by Georgina Beier. Oshogbo’s vibrant artistic life owes much to the founding of the Mbari Mbayo club by Duro Ladipo, also enthusiastically supported by Twins Seven Seven and Ogunmola. Many of Nigeria’s world-renowned artists, play-writes and musicians have passed through Mbari Mbayo’s doors. The club also distinguished its self by organizing the exhibition of art from other African regions – something that Ulli Beier was particularly keen to promote. This film presents a unique view of the vibrant, creative life typical of many Yoruba centres during this period. “Yoruba tradition is a living Force”

Language and subtitles
English (no subtitles)
West Africa
Art / Artists / Artisans Religion / Belief / Faith Archival material / Museum displays