‘Love at First Sight’ Inspired This African Art Collection

Show Us Your Walls
By Audrey Hoffer
Olusanya Ojikutu at his house in Bowie, Md., with, left, a detail of one of his own paintings, “Labyrinth of Imagination” (2015), and right, a painting on a wood pallet by Dapo Ojoade. Emma Howells for The New York Times.
BOWIE, Md. — The white living room in Olusanya Ojikutu’s home, with its soaring cathedral ceiling, is a temple to his traditional and contemporary African art. Sculptures bookend the sofa, paintings and prints decorate the walls and the overall atmosphere is one of beauty, historic grandeur and repose. Most of Ojikutu’s sculptures are at least a century old, created for performances or rituals. “They served as intermediaries between the local people and their ancestors’ spirits to make their lives better and protect them from evil forces in this world and beyond,” he said. "I try to show that expanse of art forms and visual cultures in my collection.”[More]
A Yoruban caryatid designed as a veranda post or support beam. The traditional crown inspired the shape of the National Museum of African- American History and Culture, designed by David Adjaye. Behind, in the hall, is “The Couple” (1982), by Merton D. Simpson.Credit...
A Yoruban sculpture and a yellow painting on white cotton cloth by El Anatsui from the 1980s.