Abeni Visual and Performing Art Institute (AVPAI), is a private institute based in Iragbiji, Osun State, Nigeria specializing in art, design and the performing arts. AVPAI is formed to create an environment to nurture, educate and encourage creative individuals. The institute promotes art, culture and values, job creation and wealth and as well contribute to community development and sustainability.

AVPAI’s programs and activities are aimed at encouraging students to realize their potential and fostering independence to prepare them for their future as responsible global citizens.

We believe that our institute will fit any personality, develop talents and add important skills and other skills needed to be successful.

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Our Vision:

To be a model Institute for visual and performing arts in Africa

Our Mission:

AVPAI seeks to give a future to youths between 14 and 24 years left behind by formal education system

Meet Our Team

Our Formidable Team
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Meet the Founder

Get to know the brain behind AVPAI.

Described by many as a poetic painter with a romantic touch, Muraina Oyelami’s works are a representation of his experiences, stories, folktales and landscapes. Known to some as a master painter and by others as a great performing artist, Oyelami is one of the original products of the famous Oshogbo Art Movement, whose works reflect composition and meaning. His varied and enormous list of credits include Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Staatlichen Kunsthalle, Berlin; Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London – to name a few.

Muraina Oyelami was born in Iragbiji, Nigeria in 1940.  Oyelami began his career as an artist in 1964 as one of the original products of the famous Oshogbo Art School initiated by Professor Ulli Beier and his wife Georgina Beier. He studied Technical Theatre specialising in Theatre Design at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, where he later taught traditional music from 1975 to 1987. The idea behind the Oshogbo art experiment was to bring together young, creative people without formal art training and encourage them to paint from the heart. The experiment was such a success that today Oshogbo has become the centre of an art movement in Nigeria, with an ever-growing group of artists. Oyelami was one of the first set of Oshogbo artists.

Prior to his career in art, Oyelami was a founding member of the late Duro Ladipo Theatre Company performing as an actor and musician. He toured with the group to the Berlin Festival of Art in 1964 and the first Commonwealth Arts Festival in the United Kingdom in 1965. Oyelami embraced the ideas of the Oshogbo experiment – creating art from his inner mind without the constraint of formal training – and became the most visible and most successful of the Oshogbo artists. Of his lack of formal training Oyelami says, “If we had gone to a university art school, we would not have been able to develop the inner eye so early. Too many things would have been imposed upon us and it might have taken us years to free ourselves from that education”.

Oyelami also composed and directed the music for Wole Soyinka’s famous ‘Death and the King’s Horseman’ at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, England.  The themes in Oyelami’s work are mainly derived from Yoruba culture. The Yoruba people – their facial features and markings are a particular favourite. Oyelami’s works also capture the ceremonies and festivals. Today, Oyelami is the chief Eesa of Iragbiji Land – a few miles outside Oshogbo. He still paints and has exhibited widely in Nigeria and in America.


Chief Muraina Oyelami, Justice of the Peace (JP), Fellow of Theatre Arts (FTA), Member Society of Nigerian Artist (SNA) is the Eesa of Iragbiji,

 Traditional  Training/Research:

  • Founding Member of Duro Ladipo National Theatre, Osogbo              1963-1966.
  • Yoruba Dundun Drumming Research/ Training under Oba Laoye, Timi of Ede Land, 1963 – 1965.
  • Yoruba Dundun Drumming Research and Training Abeyefo of Iseyin and Ayantunji Amoo of Okinni, 1963-1966.

Visual Arts Training and Workshops Attended:

  • Kunst Akademie, Berlin Germany, 1979.
  • Otis Art Institut, Los Angeles, 1974
  • Ru Van Russem 2nd Printmaking Workshop– Ile Ife,
  • Osogbo Art School, Ataoja’s Palace, Osogbo 1964 – 1967.
  • Ru Van Russem (from Holland) Printmaking Workshop, Osogbo
  • Summer Art School, Mbari-Mbayo Artists and Writers Club, Osogbo,

Teaching Experience:

  • International Tutor, Fifth Summer School (for Africana and Carribean Music and Dance), organized by the Black Dance Development Trust (BDDT) of England, held at the Birmingham Polytechnic Campus, Birmingham, UK1990.
  • International Tutor, Fourth Summer School (for Africana and Carribean Music and Dance), organized by the Black Dance Development Trust of England, Birmingham, UK1998.
  • Music and Dance Instructor, Department of Music, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, 1976 –

Prizes, Honours, Fellowships

  • Copeland Fellow, Amherst College Amherst, USA, 2002 – 2003
  • 2002 Award of Excellence for Arts and Culture” – Chapel of Radio and Television, Osun State Union of Journalist of Nigeria.
  • 2001 Award of Excellence for Arts and Culture” – Chapel of Radio and Television, Osun State Union of Journalists,
  • Best Painter – Osun Festival of Arts and Culture – OSFAC 2000, NIgeria.
  • “Balogun Asa Yoruba” – Title of Honor by the Association of Yoruba Language Teachers of Osun State Nigeria – 1999.