We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Carved pillar, Ikerre



Donald Friend


06 Feb 1915 – 16 Aug 1989

Artist profile

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Ikerre Nigeria
    Media category
    Materials used
    pencil, pen and ink, wash on cream laid paper
    34.1 x 21.5 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Signed l.r. corner, black ballpoint pen "D F.". Not dated.

    Margaret Hannah Olley Art Trust 1992
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Reproduced with permission of the Estate of Donald Friend/Copyright Agency

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Donald Friend

    Artist profile

    Works in the collection


  • About

    During his time in London as a young artist, Donald Friend was inspired to visit West Africa and see first-hand the tribal art that was influencing contemporary European artists such as Picasso and Braque. Travelling to Nigeria in 1938, he lived for a time at Ikerre in Ekiti province where, provided with a large house and servants in the compound of the Ogoga (ruler), Friend pursued his interest in the culture of the local Yoruba people. He drew, painted, observed their customs and way of life and recorded his impressions in a detailed manuscript that he intended for publication – but which was eventually abandoned. This is one of a number of drawings that he created to accompany that text. They illustrate a range of subjects from Yoruba artefacts or early brass heads, to Benin bronzes and contemporary wood-carvings incorporated into buildings.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 2 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Anne Gray, Art and Australia (Vol. 39, No. 3), 'Donald Friend in Nigeria', pg. 428-435, Sydney, Mar 2002-May 2002, 431, 432. pg. 431 & 432 details influence and context of Friend's practice; pg. 435 identifies drawing as the artist's Nigerian 'manuscript'

Other works by Donald Friend

See all 57 works