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Kansas African American Museum to host memorial service for fiber artist

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 2:24 p.m.

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The Kansas African American Museum is hosting a memorial service for Chief Zacheus Olowonubi Oloruntoba at 5 p.m. Thursday at the museum, 601 N. Water.

Chief Oloruntoba was an internationally known fiber artist. Many Kansans became familiar with his works while they were on display during the “Lion King” theatrical performances at Century II in September 2012. Other shows were at the Kansas African American Museum in June 2012 and at the Spice Merchant in November 2012. His artwork featured vibrant, colorful herbal-dyed, cotton-cord tapestries depicting African life.

Chief Oloruntoba loved Wichita, said Mark McCormick, director of the Kansas African American Museum. The chief visited area schools, museums, city and county facilities, businesses and once threw out the first pitch at a Wranglers game.

Some of his more well-known patrons include Queen Elizabeth and David Rockefeller, but he also had several followers in Wichita who now own pieces of his work. The Kansas African American Museum owns three, one hangs at the Angelou Northeast Branch Library and one outside Mayor Carl Brewer’s office at City Hall.

The artist was born Oct. 1, 1919, in Ogidi, Nigeria. He died March 13, 2014, in Marietta, Ga.

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