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the Ejiogbe Twins, fine stone carvers

Kehinde and Taiwo dancing hand in hand
Kehinde and Taiwo dancing hand in hand
Taiwo and Kehinde Ejiogbe: now and then
Taiwo and Kehinde Olabode Ejiogbe: now and then
Drums could be heard in a distance as we approached the open compound of the Ejiogbes. Two slender white-clad silhouettes, those of two Obatala followers, were dancing forward in our direction, sometimes hand in hand, sometimes not, but synchronised at all time. Taiwo and Kehinde Ejiogbe, the stone carver twins of Inisa, Osun state, were now greeting us and welcoming us in an open courtyard where a marquee had been arranged with rows of plastic chairs.
Taiwo's simple lines
Taiwo's simple lines
I had met the Ejiogbe Twins about a year ago in Iragbiji and had bought some of their carvings which I still like very much. So it was natural to go and meet them again in their abode.
The compound was decorated with the many stones carved by the Twins. Taiwo's works were displayed on the lawn separating the road from the house. Large pieces with an asiatic touch in the simplicity of lines of the carvings.
Kehinde's roundness
Kehinde's roundness
Kehinde had most of his works in a shed on the other side of the house courtyard which were rounder and more exuberant. Interestingly the contrast of exuberance in carving was mirroring the character of each of them. Yorubas are very fond of twins and they say that Taiwo, the first of the twins to come out first of his mother's belly is usually more calm and less talkative than his brother Kehinde, the second one. As if the path to birth was moulding the character of new born babies. Back to their work, they mostly carve stones but also occasionally wood and for their tour abroad they did a few paintings representing twins. They mentioned that they had travelled to the US and Japan to show their works about twenty years ago. The stone motives are essentially symbolic representations of Obatala the creator, shown moulding a human between his hands, but also his wives and other Yoruba divinities like Sango or Ogun. They portrait human characters such as drummers, flute players, and other mundane subjects like a money-lender wearing an ample robe and carrying swollen bags of money.
bata drum engaging with the Egungun
bata drum engaging with the Egungun
The twins have a particular hairstyle. Cowries are woven into their hair like a crown surrounding their face. They usually wear white as a sign of their affiliation with Obatala, the divinity of creation. They had prepared for the occasion an entertainment with the Ejiogbe Ibile Cultural Group which gathered drummers and dancers as well as an Egungun (a representation of a spirit of the ancestors of the family) that came to perform a dance of his own in front of us. As always there was an interaction between the drums and the Egungun, like a conversation, sometimes a provocation to bring the Egungun to react. His costume was laden with colourful fabrics and hand-stitched with charms. The head mask presented four faces with scarifications.
The show ended and it was soon time to part with our jolly hosts.


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