Small Chop

Sculpture by Adeola Balogun

Continued from post

With little trouble, my driver finds his way. The high walls give away no secrets. As the gate door opens, the perfectly manicured grounds, numerous Crown Cranes and sculptures that depict Nigerian village life come into view.  A sculpture of woman greets me, her eyes humbly directed downward, offering the traditional kola nut.  Laughter from a deep booming voice directs my attention forward. Without doubt, this would be our host, Prince Shyllon. We are enthusiastically escorted into a lecture room and Prince Shyllon proceeds to explain about his journey and his passion into the world of Nigerian art and provides an overview of his organization, Omooba Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon Art Foundation (OYASAF), which he founded. After an informative overview of the vision and goals of the organization, we begin our tour.

As we walk through the grounds and into the home/museum, I am struck by the continuous flow of art and nature that nurtures our senses and challenges our imaginations. It is as if we are in a kaleidoscope of shape, texture, and color in a vortex of time.  Each visual encounter becomes more awesome and intense. We gaze at works from ancient traditional pieces to modern-day masters such as printmaker Bruce Onobrakpeya, bead paintings of David Dale, impressionist Ben Enwonwu,  painter and renown sculptor Okpu Eze, wood sculptures of Lamidi Fakeye, painter Akinola Lasekan, Jimoh Buraimoh, and so many more. (Take a virtual tour of modern Nigerian art at Virtual Museum of Modern Art.)

After nearly three hours, we still have not seen all the rooms. Prince Shyllon with his expansive deep laugh, invites us for ‘small chop’ (a West African expression for snacks). Our group heaves sighs of pleasure; we are ready to sit and allow all we have viewed to be grasped fully.  Prince Shyllon’s wife generously offers us meat pies, sausage rolls, and grilled chicken. It is not easy to say good-bye to the synergy of great works of art and history. But we take our leave knowing that Prince Shyllon’s vision is the vital step forward to save Nigerian heritage for Nigerians and the world.

11 thoughts on “Small Chop

  1. I thank you most sincerely for your kind words and your obvious appreciation of our little effort at promoting Nigerian art and culture and giving opportunity to visitors to enjoy the creativity of nigerians in the mist of an absolute neglect by those paid and elected to preserve our heritage and creativity. I observe also your selfless effort at contributing in this important sphere of our life as a people. I salute you for your quiet contribtion. Thank you. Yemisi Shyllon

    • Thank you for your words of encouragement. Without heritage and culture, people are blanketed in mediocrity. I only hope that young people throughout the world would recognize that a future without heritage of their ancestors is bland.

    • Waouhhhh!!! What a wonderful and inspiring “window on art”. Would you please mind giving us more details on the first picture (that of a woman welcoming guests with kolanut)? It is important to know: the tribe, the exact location of the status (on the picture), the purpose (why was it made?), why it is a woman and not a man? Why is she kneeling down while offering kola nuts? Why are there 5 kola nuts on the place? Thanks

  2. You expressed so beautifully the sentiments of so many of us in the NFS group. Prince Shyllon is as generous with his hospitality as he is with the talented Nigerian artists whose works he collects and promotes.

    Prince is developing a lasting legacy to the people of Nigeria through his Foundation the OYASAF (see the link on Lesley’s Home page). We are some of the lucky benficiaries of his efforts.

    • Thank you for your comments. It was a wonderful, inspirational trip. Thank you for organizing it. Prince Shyllon takes on a mammoth undertaking but it is his passion that, infectiously, will keep his vision alive.

  3. Lesley, you have given us a “small chop.” Thank you for your window on Nigerian art. I love the two sculptures pictured. So impressive! What fun it would be to tour in person, but you give a great taste. Thank you. Paula

    • I really appreciate your comments. The article is just a whiff of a feast for the eyes , intellect, and senses. I hope that one day, this collection will be a museum for all to enjoy. Prince Shyllon has certainly opened that possibility. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

  4. Lesley, It is quite impressive how Prince Yemisi Shyllon has managed to accumulate and maintain one of the largest collection of art pieces in Nigeria. Thanks for sharing a small glimpse into the collection.

  5. Waouhhhh!!! What a wonderful and inspiring “window on art”. Would you please mind giving us more details on the first picture (that of a woman welcoming guests with kolanut)? It is important to know: the tribe, the exact location of the status (on the picture), the purpose (why was it made?), why it is a woman and not a man? Why is she kneeling down while offering kola nuts? Why are there 5 kola nuts on the place? Thanks

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