Ogundele was born in Oshogbo. Ogundele became a musician and an
actor in his uncle Duro Ladipo's theater company when he was a
teenager. In 1963 he participated in Denis Williams' workshop.
the beginning, Rufus Ogundele worked on a large scale. Using emulsion
paint, he first outlined one or two large figures in black. He
then filled in the background with white and painted the remaining
areas in blue, green and red. Ogundele began to develop his skills
as a printmaker when Georgina Beier invited him and Jacob Afolabi
to work in her house. There he learned the technique of linocut.
combined the European artistic techniques he developed under Williams'
and especially Beier's tutelage with the teachings of traditional
Yoruba culture. His subject matter attests to his strong beliefs,
which are rooted in Yoruba culture and life. Although raised as
a Christian in the Anglican Christ Mission Society, he is a follower
of the Yoruba god of iron Ogun. His family name-Ogundele-means
Ogun worshipper. The dominant presence of color in Ogundele's
work appears to underscore the power of Ogun as a factor in the
artist's life. The strong black outlines that Beier introduced
him to are reminiscent of elements found in the German expressionist
work of Nolde and Kirchner.
1968 he moved to Ife, Nigeria, where he assisted Solomon Wangboje
in the Ori Olokun Centre and then became co-founder of the Ogun
In 1983 he was artist-in-residence at the Iwalewa-Haus in Bayreuth,
Germany. He trained other artists at his studio.
"Concrete Vision" exhibit at the National Museum of
African Art, Smithsonian; "30 years of Oshogbo Art",