Bamidele Areogun was the son of Yoruba master carver, Dada Areogun of Osi-Ilorun, Ekiti, Nigeria. According to Father Kevin Carroll (who resided in the Ekiti area and kept record of the life and times of Bamidele), Bamidele was not as talented a carver as his father at the onset of his career. Never trained by his father, Bamidele had his apprenticeship under Osamuko, who had in fact trained under his father, Dada Areogun.
After his apprenticeship was completed under Osamuko, Bamidele became quite an avid carver, accepting commissions wherever he could find work in his area. Due to the rapidly declining demand for traditional Yoruba carving, Bamidele found himself supplementing his income by felling trees, sawing planks and supplying timber, and carving odds and ends from surplus wood.
Bamidele’s first commission of any importance came from the Ogboni cult, in Open, Ekiti, who commissioned Bamidele for the carving of drums, doors and pillars for the Ogboni houses from 1940 to 1943. After the Ogboni commission, there was a lull in work for Bamidele, and Father Carrol theorizes that his skills declined over this period due to underemployment.
Bamidele and Father Carroll met in 1947 when Father Carroll was experimenting with the idea of starting a school for carvers, known as the Oye Ekiti Project. The purpose of the school was to develop the artistic talents of local artists, however, it rechanelled the talents from traditional “pagan” carvings to Christian Catholic icons and subjects.