#34 Devil's Dog
by Twins Seven-Seven

1966. Ink, gouache and varnish on paper.

A threatening, doglike, two-faced fable with a long tail is standing in front of a densely built village. The pairs of eyes of the human-like faces seem to look at each other, both mouths are opened and show parts of their teeth. Striking structures and patterns fill the body of the animal: peaks, squares, circles and semicircles determine individual surfaces, both within the body and in the background. The back of his fuselage is adorned with a checkerboard pattern in black and white on which another, red-sparkling pair of eyes can be seen. Jagged forms surround the body of the animal, tapering in different sizes and reminding of reptiles or dragons.

This is the king. (...) On his back is again a cat. In the background you can see the city of the king. It really means that some kings are like dogs or cats; They have this magic power, which they can use in negative or positive sense. It depends on what kind of heart they have. (Twins Seven-Seven)

Twins Seven-Seven started his international career in Nigeria in the 1960s, where he became a friend of Ulli and Georgina Beier at the Mbari Mbayo Club in Oshogbo in 1964. In the same year Twins Seven-Seven took part in a workshop led by Georgina Beier. Influenced by the novels of the Nigerian writer Amos Tutuola and his tales of legendary creatures and magical worlds of Yoruba mythology, Twins produced his first works, including a series of four Devil's Dogs, two of which are still part of the Iwalewahaus Collection. The Devils's Dog can be seen as a parade example of his artistic oeuvre, his style and formal language. While the principles of proportions and perspective played a subordinate role for him, his unmistakable technique is characterized by his vivid pictorial language. Twins Seven-Seven (1944 - 2011) is considered one of the most influential representatives of the Oshogbo school.

Lena Naumann
Universität Bayreuth,
Iwalewahaus August 2017


Beier, Ulli (Hg.). 1999. A dreaming life : an Autobiography of Twins Seven-Seven. Bayreuth African Studies 52: Bayreuth.