Muraina Oyelami (born 1949 in Iragbiji, Nigeria) belongs to the first generation of artists of the “Oshogbo-Group”. In 1964, he attended a workshop in Oshogbo given by Georgina Beier before he started working as a professional artist. In 1982, he was the very first artist-in-residence at Iwalewahaus in Bayreuth. Unlike other Oshogbo-artists, Oyelami does not incorporate folkloric elements into his works, rather scenes from daily life, such as townscapes. One of the stylistic trademarks of his works is a progressive abstraction of form in his figurative representations. Additionally, fields of colour are often bordered with black or white lines. Oyelami’s great passion for theater and music is reflected in his works, including textiles.
Oyelami’s Der Zaubervogel is comprised of a variety of colourful, patterned cloths. Two figures reside in the upper quadrant of this composed textile. The uppermost one is reminiscent of a bird, with a narrow trunk, red plumage and a beak-like form. The title Der Zaubervogel (The Magic Bird) –which was most likely conceived by Ulli Beier, the founder of the Iwalewahaus– confirms this assumption. The second figure appears to be a disembodied human head, the neck of which trails off beyond the border of the textile. Other discernable forms seem to be structures, such as the house in right corner of the scene. As the textile was most likely composed during the artists’ stay Sydney (Australia) with the Beier family, it could also be interpreted as Oyelami’s impressions of his surroundings Down Under.
Iwalewahaus, April 2018