At the centre of the door is the Oba seated on his throne. Standing behind him is his wife and around him are figures from his court. Other panels depict warriors on horseback. This would have been a familiar sight to Areogun as he was growing up; even in the late 19th century, the region was subject to raiding from Ibadan. Daily life is represented: hunters return from the forest; a woman is arrested – maybe for cheating in the marketplace; a priest of Orisha gives a blessing to a mother and her new child.
Areogun was also aware of the changes happening around him. In 1898 the British declared an end to the Kiriji wars and established an administration in Lagos. The villages were visited by colonial officers, often riding a bicycle. A common name for them was Akerele – “little rascal". The British came to collect taxes and were regarded with suspicion. Areogun makes his feelings clear, placing a carving of Eshu, the trickster deity, on the handlebars of the colonial bicycle.
In the process of developing the John Randle Centre, its curators have researched some fascinating stories associated with Yoruba culture. Read on for some examples.