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Emmanuel Taiwo Jegede, The Prayer for Peace, bronze
Made in London, 1986
Emmanuel Taiwo Jegede was born in June 1943 in Ekiti, within the Yoruba-speaking region of Nigeria. After attending school he was apprenticed in sculpture to Pa Akerejola in Ekiti then continued his studies at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. He moved to Britain in 1963 where he underwent further training at Willesden College of Technology and Hammersmith College of Arts.
Jegede's fascinating sculpture The Prayer for Peace appeared in miniature in the Ground Force Africa Garden. The original large-scale work was commissioned by Islington Borough Council in 1986 and both versions are made of bronze. Jegede takes Yoruba traditional art - many examples of which can be seen in the British Museum's Sainsbury African Galleries (Room 25) - as the starting-point for his work, using his training to develop the themes in a new way.
As well as working as a sculptor, Jegede is a painter, printmaker, musician, storyteller and poet. His poetry is informed by Yoruba traditions and he has given recitals at numerous venues in the UK, Nigeria and elsewhere. His love of colour is reflected in his paintings, and he is keen to explore the use of colour in his sculptures. Jegede's work in all media reflects the exuberant spirit of the Nigerian people, as well as his own distinctive and creative presence.
J. Mack (ed.), Africa: arts and cultures (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)