March 17, 2004
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.-Artist and musician Chief Muraina Oyelami will perform on drums, accompanied by local percussionists Joseph Platz and Andrew Kaknes, in the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. Oyelami will play on Wednesday, March 24 at 3 p.m.; Thursday, March 25, at 4:30 p.m., with a reception to follow: and Friday, March 26 at 3 p.m. Oyelami was a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College last year. His performances are part of Cloth Only Wears to Shreds: Yobuba Textiles and Photographs from the Beier Collection, an exhibition at the Mead Art Museum until May 16.

Chief Muraina Oyelami has written, lectured and conducted workshops throughout the world on Yoruba music, art and religion. In 1993, he was installed as the eesa of his hometown, Iragbiji in Yorubaland in southwestern Nigeria. An eesa is high traditional chieftaincy, second-in-command to the oba, or king. He also runs the Obatala Centre for Creative Arts in Iragbiji.

Oyelami began his career in 1963 as a painter in the Osogbo School, a Nigerian arts movement that combined Yoruba and western influences. An actor and musician, he was also a founding member of Duro Ladipo Theatre Company. Oyelami has been artist-in-residence at the National Black Theatre of Harlem and the University of Bayreuth (Germany), and a Djerassi Foundation Fellow in Woodside, Calif.

Known as a visual as well as a performing artist, Oyelami has been described as a poetic painter with a romantic approach. He taught Yoruba traditional music and directed many dance and drama productions at the University of Ife (Nigeria.) He also composed and directed the music for Wole Soyinka's famous Death and the King's Horseman in Manchester, England.