Osun rises for Adunni Olorisa at 90

Thu, Jun 5, 2008


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Come Saturday July 2, the ancient town of Osogbo and Osun state capital will be thrown into festivity as Susanne Wenger, the Austrian-born artist and priestess of Osun Groove turns 90. A line up of activities had been made by the state government and Wenger’s proteges to celebrate this ‘goddess’ widely known and addressed as Adunni Olorisa.

Although her actual birthday is July 4, the state government and the organisers of her birthday anniversary chose July 2 (a work-free day) to host mostly international guests who may be part of the historic ceremony being co-sponsored by Guiness Nigeria Plc.

In the words of Osahenye Kainebi, artist and one of the facilitators of the grand birthday bash, Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State has offered to host guests at the government house by 7pm in honour of Wenger, while the royal father of the town, Oba Iyiola Matanmi shall also host the celebrant at 2pm in his palace amidst elaborate drumming, music, cultural displays and art exhibitions.

Besides, Kainebi hinted that Nike Okundaye, popular Batik maker and one of the prominent Osogbo artists and confidants of Wenger will have her cultural troupe in performance during the ceremony. Also some of the Osogbo-based artists, like Jimoh Buraimoh, Twin Seven Seven, Rufus Ogundele, Yemi Elebuibon, Demola Onibonokuta, Muraina Oyelami, among others would showcase their works in honour of Adunni Olorisa.

Earlier, Mr Christian Fellner, the Australian ambassador to Nigeria, had said of Wenger “a renowned Austrian artist, dedicated Nigerian priestess, the Adunni Olorisa teaches us the importance of spirituality for life.” Fellner also hinted that his embassy would equally organise an evening of tributes for the celebrant in Lagos, following the Osogbo party.

Born in 1915 in the Austrian town of Graz, the ‘White Priestess’ of the Osun River studied Art in Graz and Vienna. This was prior to her settlement in Nigeria since 1950.

Soon after settling down at Osogbo (she had earlier been at Ede with Uli Biere), Wenger easily joined the contemporary Nigerian arts community, following her efforts at restoring and preserving the “Sacred Grove of Osogbo.”

Like the late Professor Kay Williamson, the Briton scholar who studied Ijaw language and settled in Ijaw land (Nigeria) for 38 years before her death, Wenger’s name too has been written in gold in Yorubaland. This is at the instance of her passion for the culture and religion of Osogbo (Yoruba) people and her continued upkeep and nurturing of the Osun Groove.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. James Crawford Says:

    Christian Fellner is the Austrian ambassador, not Australian.

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