In September of 2019 (a looooong time ago in blogging years), Chris, an intern working with Ìfẹ́ [dairyofanaijagirl] curated a remarkable post about Susanne Wenger on Instagram. Motivated by her piece, I decided to make a full-blown blogpost about my first visit to Susanne Wenger’s House and the Osun-Osogbo Grove.
For those who may not know, Susanne Wenger was the mastermind behind New Sacred Art Movement, a group of committed individuals who singlehandedly restored Osun-Osogbo Grove – a UNESCO World Heritage Site to its somewhat current state.
What makes Susanne Wenger more fascinating is that she was a foreigner, Austrian particularly on Nigerian soil and she had this keen interest in recovering the treasures our forefathers had taken for granted. Simply put, she is one of the big reasons if not the only reason Osun-Osogbo Grove stands today.
In this follow up to my endless Osogbo musings, I’ve curated seventeen comments retrieved from the same IG Post that made me create colorful magic.
View this post on Instagram
Curated by DANG Intern: @onecreativegrrl . When Wenger emigrated to Ibadan, Nigeria in 1949, she became sick with tuberculosis and was subsequently taken to a Yoruba herbalist in Ẹdẹ, present day Osun State, who cured her of the disease. . . Wenger was then attracted to the Yoruba language and religion, and became a High Priestess of the Òrìṣà, where she ultimately established herself in the revival of the religion. . . She also became the guardian of the Sacred Grove of Oṣun goddess on the banks of the Oṣun River in Oṣogbo. . . In 2005, President Olusegun Obasanjo honoured her with the national award of the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). . . Wenger died in Oṣogbo on January 12, 2009. She was 93. . . Source: Legit NG . . #DANGHistory
Awesome right? Let’s Begin!
#1. Oiza’s Collection [@oiza_collection] says…
I stay in Osogbo and I know the real story of this woman.
The story we heard from our fathers is that Mama Susanne Wenger was a tourist who came to Osogbo with her husband to capture the Osun Mermaid to their country.
She was hypnotised and as such, couldn’t follow her husband back to their country. Susanne became a true worshipper of Osun and later a High Priestess…
Susanne adopted some people here including my friend’s parents. She was given a yoruba name “Adunni Olorisa” meaning Adunni the idol worshipper.
The house where she lived before passing on still exists along Osun State University Road today and it was named after her.
Related Readings: WHY SUSANNE WENGER’S HOUSE IS THE BEST CULTURAL CENTRE IN OSOGBO
#2. Happy Woman [@ms.cocofudge] says…
Okurrrrr. So we should turn to babalawo and mamalawo. Abi beeko!
#3. monies/ [@mizzwealth_19] says…
Oh Adunni Olorisa has died? Never knew. May God rest her soul.
#4. Everister [@everberry.mi] says…
Met her in Oshogbo in 2004, I was amazed.
#5. Yemiii Abiri [@arayemi] says…
She was friends with Picasso, they were artists together, she left her husband to fully embrace her calling. There’s a whole lot more to her story. She did what she was called to do, fully embracing who she was meant to be, lived to 93yrs (wow), adopted two young children while learning a language and culture she was not born into. I’m off to read more!
#6. !nee [@ineetivity] says…
We need a video of her in action. Something more than this picture. This is so intriguing.
#7. Earl Balignumization [@owlarr] says…
Once upon a time, there was a country that flourished and others came to flourish with ’em.
#8. Vera Dee [@verablue2000] says…
There’s a movie about her.
#9. Okunola Saidat Olaide [@holeryedeh] says…
And here we are trying to forgo everything traditional, while foreigners embrace it to a fault.
Related Readings: FORGET THE BIG NAMES, VISIT THIS ART GALLERY IN OSOGBO
#10. Ibiso Oyibo [@miss_oyibo] says…
#11. Gifty Martins [@chisimdi_ndu] says…
Am I the only one still stuck at the cure for tuberculosis part? Till today we still need foreign aid to cure tuberculosis… how did this local cure come about, how is it not being utilized?
#12. Adebayo Sofoluwe [@dayotage] says…
She was very instrumental in the crafting and naming of several artifacts in the Osun-Osogbo groove. I remember I had a whole section of my final year project taking about her accomplishments in Osun-Osogbo and how she influenced the Tourism Perspective in Nigeria decades ago. Heroine!
#13. T.I.A. Olosun-Egbebi [@iam_totoola] says…
Beautiful memory. Rest on Mama. We love you but Olodumare loves you more.
#14. Precious [@survvy] says…
My mum was telling me the story yesterday!!!
#15. Temmy [@awodiyaomolade] says…
Adunni Olorisa! #heroine
Related Readings: OSUN-OSOGBO GROVE: 10 MUST-READ TIPS FOR EVERYONE
#16. Style and Fashion Transformer [@styledbyayalash] says…
What a wawu.
#17. And The Nigerian Travel Blogger [@ericotrips] says…
She was so amazing! I visited Susanne Wenger’s House in Osogbo days ago and I sincerely think I’ll hardly forget that experience.
when Ugochi LaToya I.A [@ugo_chi]
replies, “gist us more.” I continue…
First off, the museum isn’t on Google Maps (tried adding it recently) so you might have an issue getting there if you go without a guide. What I recommend is you locate Ataoja Palace or Osogbo Central Mosque, from there you can ask locals for descriptions.
Getting there, my friend and I were welcomed by a guy and he asked if we wanted a tour or an interview session. Ask for both! The museum features works from New Sacred Art Movement which Mama Susanne Wenger founded. It’s very much kept in the natural state with wooden floors, windows and doors. Indoors, there’re wood carvings, stone carvings and many other artworks. The building as a whole gives an in depth perspective of how the Art Maestro would have lived.
View this post on Instagram
Missing the lovely home of Susanne Wenger with its Brazilian architecture, artistic finishes and of course, many artworks by the New Sacred Art Movement. Mama Susanne Wenger is the beating heart of Osun-Osogbo Grove and her home was the perfect place to start with my Osogbo exploration. (see last and next post) @Lufthansa @Loslifestyleco @unravellingnigeria @Valerieegbuniwe #Lufthansa #LifeChangingPlaces #goexplore #vacation #susannewenger #livinginosun #osogbolife #travel #travelblog
The best part of it is you’re free to take photos for the gram without any restrictions. If you want to learn more DM me for a short video (displayed above) or stick to my page @ericotrips because I’ll be writing a blogpost on Susanne Wenger’s House soon. Hope you’re satisfied Ugochi?
Mama Susanne Wenger, our Adunni Olorisa could have been 104 years old today. Nonetheless, she lives on in the hearts of many art, culture and history patrons including myself. Mama was and is still a national treasure, an emblem of the indigenous people of Osogboland and a gift from Graz, Austria.
IN OTHER NEWS…
I know I mentioned in my infamous Computer Village writeup that many readers took a poll about how they’d like more Lagos related topics over Art and Culture and I totally respect your opinions. However, I’ve been chasing art for as long as I can remember that I’ve visited sixteen art galleries so far, seven this year alone!
What am I trying to saying? Art is a huge part of travel and it’s one of the purest forms of cultural exploration. Rapid urbanisation clutches our origins like Caulobacter but fact is, art hardly ages, check Egypt. Also, in my ends, art isn’t as appreciated as much as I think it should and I’m going to change this narrative gallery-by-gallery.
So, I’m categorising the five best art galleries I’ve visited since 2019 and sharing this superb IG video too. Hope they change your mind.
- Nike Art Centre
- Genesis Art Gallery
- Henrimoweta African Art Centre
- El Carvar Art Gallery
- Signature Beyond Art Gallery
View this post on Instagram
Exactly #16 days ago, we visited seven art galleries on Lagos Island! 🏄♂️ . . Kicking off our adventure at the Biodun Omolayo Art Gallery in the City Mall, Onikan (go back two posts), we continued to the hospitable Thought Pyramid Art Centre in Ikoyi before breaking at Mydrim Art Gallery where I really appreciated the wall sculptures. 🗿 . . The fourth was Ogirikan Art Gallery, it was much smaller than the rest but indeed a worthwhile experience. 🧘♂️ . . Without further ado we stopped by Signature Beyond Art Gallery which featured some beautiful Yellow of #Lagos expressions. 🚕 . . Nimbus Art Gallery was very popular among Nigerian musicians so it felt good to be vibing at such an amazing place. 🎧 . . Closing in at Rele Art Gallery back at Onikan was a perfect boomerang journey. 🎨 . . Watch this space for more information about indigenous art galleries. 🇳🇬 . . Full #IGTV dropping soon! 😎 Music – @Damolamagma "What Happened?" . . #zotzon #yellowoflagos #travelblog #everythingnaart #artxlagos #artistsoninstagram #africanart
C’mon let’s get more people to be art lovers this year! And many thanks to you for stopping by but before calling it a day please remember to wash your hands, we can only beat Corona together! What’s your favourite thing about Susanne Wenger?
Psst, make sure you follow everyone featured in this post, they’re awesome!