Olalekan Babalola to present new book ‘Sacred Art of Odu Ifa’ in Lagos

Grammy Award-winning musician-philosopher, Olalekan Babalola, is set to unveil his latest book titled “Sacred Art of Odu Ifa,” at the Kongi’s Harvest Art Gallery, Freedom Park, Lagos, on April 13, 2024. 

This limited edition eagerly anticipated 200-page tome promises to be a captivating exploration of the essence, meanings, and influence of the West Africa’s Binary and visual writing language, Ifa.

According to a statement by the publishers, the Ifa Yoruba Contemporary Arts Trust, a “sumptuous introduction to Odu Ifa,” the book delves into the significance of this ancient tradition to the Yoruba People of West Africa, its impact on contemporary art, and its philosophical resonance in the 21st century. With a passion and depth of knowledge evident throughout, Babalola illuminates the sacred and binary-centric nature of Odu Ifa.

The book, which invites readers on a journey of discovery, provides insights into the philosophical essence of each of the 16 principal odu and also showcases Babalola’s stunning self-illustrated artistic aesthetics. Through 16 photographic plates and over 20 artworks, readers are treated to a visual feast, experiencing firsthand the unique language and potency of Odu Ifa.

Inspired by a dream and the spirit of legendary jazz musician John Coltrane, Babalola celebrates the Odu of Ifa signs as a form of communication that transcends time and culture. Coltrane believed in the importance of traditional wisdom in modern thinking and Babalola’s work echoes this sentiment, offering a bridge between ancient tradition and contemporary consciousness.

Each Odu of Ifa, as Babalola explains, represents essential life situations, with 16 possible variations each. Through narratives rich in symbolism, allegory, and morality, these odus form a tapestry of order, creation, and destiny, guiding individuals through life’s journey. From music to food, herbal prescriptions to iconic symbols, each aspect of Odu Ifa contributes to its holistic and therapeutic effects.

The book is a testament to Babalola’s commitment to fostering the development of Yoruba arts and culture, and his work resonates not only in Nigeria but also across the globe, with Yoruba tradition at the heart of his artistic endeavours.

For those eager to delve into the world of Odu Ifa and explore its influence on contemporary art, “Sacred Art of Odu Ifa” offers a rare opportunity. With its limited-edition print run, interested readers are encouraged to secure their copy by contacting ifayorubacontemporaryarts@gmail.com.

As Babalola’s magnum opus prepares to grace the shelves of art enthusiasts and scholars alike, it stands as a testament to the enduring power and majesty of Ifa tradition in the African Diaspora and beyond.


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