Susanne Wenger with Ajagemo, an high priest of Obatala in Ede, circa 1955

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Susanne Wenger with Ajagemo, an high priest of Obatala in Ede, circa 1955. Photo: Ulli Beier

Born in Graz, Austria in 1915. She was a sculptor and illustrator. She met her first husband Ulli Beier in 1949 while on a work tour of Europe. Beier had been offered a position as a phoneticist at the University College Ibadan. The position was only offered to a married lecturer, the couple who had given little consideration to marriage prior to the offer decided to get married in London and emigrated to Nigeria.

 

After living in Ìbàdàn for a few years, the couple moved to Ẹdẹ, where she had her first contact with and initiation into the traditional Yorùbá religion by her spiritual mentor and dear friend, the Ọbàtálá priest called Ajagẹmọ Láaró.

 

Thereafter, she became engrossed with the development and promotion of the Yorùbá religion and culture particularly the Osun Grove, where as the custodian of the scared grove she built and dotted the forests of the Sacred Grove with works of arts and created a new art movement known as New Sacred Art. It was a branch of Osogbo School of Arts that guards the Sacred Grove of Osun goddess on the banks of the Osun River in Osogbo.

 

Thanks to her, the Osun River Grove has been preserved for posterity and has become a global attraction to different nationals across the world.

 

Though her marriage with Bieir later ended in divorce, she later got married to a Yorùbá man, Lasisi Alarape, and continued to promote Yoruba culture and tradition in Osogbo.

 

She died in 2009 at the age of 93 in her Osogbo residence.

 

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