“My condolence goes to the family of Sammy Olagbaju, and we pray the Almighty God, gives his family the fortitude to bear the loss of this great man, who meant so much to the arts community. May God also give members of his family, the capacity to live longer than he did and indeed soar to even greater heights of achievement than he did during his life time.
Sammy Olagbaju was an extremely civilized Yorubaman, who understood the value of the visual arts as an important instrument that brought not only pride, joy and identity to her people, but one that showed demonstrable evidence of the greatness and heritage of our people.
He therefore was not just a pioneer collector of modern 20th century African art, but was unapologetic for his vast and certainly extensive collection of art pieces, cutting across various themes, which he acquired from various parts of Africa, including Ghana and Kenya. He was also very supportive of many artists including my self during several points in my career, over a period of nearly five decades as a collector.
Because the Yoruba culture showed itself at its highest point with the production of the Ife head which is universally considered to be a masterpiece, Sammy, may very well, have been a reincarnation of one of those great artists of the people of Ife, who produced this important art piece, that opened the entire world to the knowledge of the artistic greatness of the geographical entity that is described today as Nigeria. I say this because, Sammy as he was popularly known, had such natural love and passion for the beauty of the arts, especially the modern and contemporary Nigerian art.
May Sammy Olagbaju’s memory be evergreen in our hearts as he spends eternity in the bosom of the Lord. Amen.”
1st Oct 2016