Folasayo Dele-Ogunrinde, award-winning Nigerian writer, visual artist, performance poet, public speaker, filmmaker and actor is dead. She passed away in her home in Houston, Texas on Saturday, May 18 around 1:30 a.m. after a courageous and protracted battle with stomach cancer. She was 45 years old. She received treatment for stomach cancer from oncologists who are affiliated with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Her brother Mr. Ayodele Ogunrinde confirmed her death saying she was surrounded by her 74-year-old father who flew in from Nigeria and other relatives when she died.
Folasayo Dele-Ogunrinde was born March 2, 1968 in Lagos, Nigeria. She was the first child and an only daughter; she is survived by four brothers and both parents. Ms. Ogunrinde was a consummate artist who has exhibited her work widely in the United States. She performed solo with a live band or recorded music blending vintage Afro-folksy and Afro-jazz music, contemporary jazz or instrumentals with her spoken word.
After graduating with a degree in Animal Science from the University of Ibadan in the mid- 1980s, she gave up her career as a Scientist to pursue her innate interests in acting, modeling, writing and the visual arts. While studying at Ibadan, she was mesmerized by an undergraduate Theatre Arts student's production play she saw and it influenced her to switched career and write her first play as well. She is the author of a 1989 British Council/Association of Nigerian Authors award-winning play, The Woman With a Past (Heinemann Books, Nigeria). She is also a recipient of the Christopher Okigbo Poetry Prize.
But in the year 1995, Ms. Ogunrinde relocated to the United States where she pursued a master's degree in Animal Nutrition from the Iowa State University. She has a patented innovative artistic mixed media style in the United States. She is the author of Conversations With The Soul At 3:00 A.M. a collection of love poems and art photography. A performance poet, she had been captivating audiences with passionate rendition of this collection prior to publication. Her performance work balances indigenous musical and lyrical traditions from Africa with adapted influences from European, American and Asian sources, to reveal a hybrid expressive impulse that elaborates on issues of vulnerability and power.
Folasayo Dele-Ogunrinde, was an engaging and provocative artist; she described herself as a divinely inspired artist. Her work also explored issues of domestic abuse, rape, and dominance-submission tensions in heterosexual relationships. She impacted so many people's lives positively. She was a very spiritual and devout Christian. The family has assured that her works will continue to be preserved and celebrated throughout the world.
A memorial service will be held for her in Corpus Christi Catholic church Houston, Texas on Saturday, May 25, 2013 before she will be flown to Nigeria for the final funeral rites.