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SUSANNE WENGER’S LASTING LEGACY

22. December 2015

This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Susanne Wenger, an Austrian born artist who made it her life‘s work to develop and preserve the Osun Grove.  2015  also marks 10 years since the Grove was given UNESCO World Heritage status.

The Grove  is a remarkably serene forest  but what’s most impressive is the collection of over 150 outdoor sculptures  that beautify the site. The sculptures, some of which are up to 10 meters in height, were first erected by Susanne Wenger after she moved to Nigeria with her husband in 1950.  Susanne quickly engrossed herself in learning about Yoruba art, culture and history. She combined her formal training with some of the traditional art forms she had become exposed to and mentored a group of local artists into what later became the New Sacred Art Movement.

Over 60 years later the site is visited by thousands of tourists, art lovers and Yoruba diaspora each year and Austria still maintains a close cultural connection with the Grove . In 2011, the Susanne Wenger Foundation in the Austrian town of Krems was re-established with the support of the Lower Austrian provincial government.

The Austrian Government has also played an active role in the conservation of the site by donating funds to the Susanne Wenger Adunni Olorisha Trust (AOT). These immense contributions were recognized when our office took a trip to the Osun Groves in November.

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