Muraina Oyelami was born in Iragbiji, Nigeria, in 1940. An actor and musician in Duro Ladipo's theater, he attended workshops organized by Georgina Beier and Ru Van Rossem. Oyelami has a certificate in dramatic arts from the University of Ife, where he has taught music and dance (1976-87) and been a museum curator.
Oyelami's methods of working as an artist are painstaking. After spending many days working out the concept for a painting, he either sketches a drawing or immediately begins to paint. His subject matter is based on individuals or experiences from daily life. His palette and use of paint are very subtle; his sense of design very direct. Although Oyelami first adopted an abstract style, he gradually moved to figurative representation.