Connect with us

Arts

JUDGES UNVEILED FOR ARTS FOR CHANGE COMPETITION

Published

on

Judges for the 2023 edition of ArtsForChange Competition

Organisers of ArtsForChange, a creative talent hunt competition powered by Black & White Ideas in conjunction with National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), has unveiled the judges for the 2023 edition.

The judges are expected to screen all the multitude of entries submitted and to recommend top 10 works for final consideration at the second round to select a final winner.

Judges are to consider, adherence to the theme of the competition, which is ‘Nigeria: Stronger Together’, creativity, aesthetic and originality’ of each work submitted.

The judges unveiled by the organisers are Oliver Enwonwu, a renowned visual artist, who holds a Master’s degree in Visual Art from University of Lagos; Halima Abubakar, a freelance documentary photographer who is currently the Artistic Director and Curator for the 19th Emir of Zazzazu; Mufu Onifade, inventor of the Araism painting technique and founder of the now famous Araism Movement and Steve Ayorinde, cultured journalist and former Commissioner for Tourism, Arts, and Culture in Lagos State.

Enwonwu comes from a long line of artists; his grandfather was a reputable traditional sculptor and his father, Ben was widely celebrated as Africa’s pioneer modernist.

In his work, Enwonwu elevates Black culture to challenge racial injustice and systemic racism by celebrating the cultural, political, and socio-economic achievements of Africans through an examination of African spirituality, Black identity and migration, contemporary African politics, Pan Africanism, and the global Africa empowerment movement.

From 2009 to July 2021, Enwonwu served as the president of Society of Nigerian Artists, established in 1963 as the umbrella professional body for all artists in Nigeria, which exists to engender the highest standards of practice and teaching of the visual arts in Nigeria.

On her part, Abubakar is a freelance documentary photographer, researcher, archivist, and artist with an insatiable interest in exploring culture and identity.

She started her photography journey by exhibiting at Lagos Photo Festival 2012. In 2013, she co-won the prize for the outstanding concept at the National Art Competition themed “Identity”.

Abubakar’s work interrogates the environment around her through her long-term projects aiming to depict her life experiences through a combination of colour, texture, patterns, and symbolism. These are captured through the conceptual visual narratives that she weaves, often through the idea of self-portraiture, in expressionistic and diaristic ways. She has a high level of credibility when it comes to her practice and creatively stays true to any subject matter she is exploring.

A critical thinker, this helps give her the discipline to be rational, open-minded, and factual about topics she explores. As an advocate for preserving history and cultural heritage, Abubakar works on projects that will help inform future generations about things they will never experience.

On his part, Onifade is celebrated for many first. He is an award-winning artist trained at The Polytechnic, Ibadan (National Diploma) and the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife (B.A, Fine Arts), and won the Best Student Prizes.

He earlier attended the African Art Museum and Training Institute, Ethiopia where he obtained a Certificate of Training in Painting on Animal Skin, and much later, the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, for his M. A, Art History.

Onifade has held three solo exhibitions, one joint exhibition, and over 100 group exhibitions. In 2010, he was among the five international artists selected from Nigeria, Barbados, the USA, and South Africa to take part in the Greatmore Art Studio’s Residency programme in Cape Town, South Africa. He was also one of the 26 artists selected from across the world to participate in the Great Walk and More Art Festival in Cape Town.

He was one of the 16 artists selected from seven countries to take part in an art project titled ’16 Pieces’ organized by the Ifa-Yoruba Contemporary Trust, UK, funded by the London Arts Board. Onifade has successfully participated in international exhibitions in Nigeria, France, Belgium, Austria, the UK, the USA, etc.

Among many local and international art competitions, Onifade, a Fellow of the Society of Nigerian Artists (fsna) has been an adjudicator for the annual National Festival of Arts and Culture by the National Council for Arts and Culture, Felabration Arts Competition, MODHAFEST Art Competition and many more.

Last but not least is Ayorinde. Aside from being the immediate past Commissioner for Tourism, Arts, and Culture in Lagos State, Ayorinde was the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy.

He was also at a point the Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of the National Mirror newspaper. Before then, Ayorinde was the Editor of The Punch newspaper in Nigeria.

Ayorinde is also regarded as one of Nigeria’s most renowned film and art critics, serving on the Juries for some of the world’s most recognised film festivals and awards, including the Toronto International Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, AMAA, and Mumbai International Film Festival.

An author, Ayorinde has credit for three books namely Masterpieces: A Critic’s Timeless Report (Spectrum Books, 2008); Abokede: The Man, The Hill, The City (ArtPillar Books, 2011) and Cascade of Change: A Decade of Liberal Thoughts (Liberal Publishing, 2015). He also edited For Law, For Country: Conversations with the Bar and the Bench (Global Media Mirror Publications, 2012).

Educated at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, he also attended the University of Lagos, Akoka, and the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, where he earned a Master’s degree in Globalization and Communications. Ayorinde is a European Union Fellow at the Foundation Journalists-in-Europe (1997–98), a comprehensive one-year training scheme for mid-career journalists, and also an alumnus of the State Department’s International Visitors’ program (IVP) in the United States, the Goethe Institute, Berlin, and University of Siena for Foreigners, Italy.

Speaking at a judge unveiling event held recently in Lagos, Mr. Titiloye Amzat, a representative of Black & White Ideas, noted that the judges for this edition of the competition are some of the finest in the industry. According to him, they were picked based on their achievements over the years in the creative industry.

He said, “For us at Black & White Ideas, only the best would do as judges. The judges for this edition are some of the best we have around.

“A knowledgeable art writer, a Master’s Degree holder in Visual Art, the creator of a unique painting technique, Araism and a documentary Photographer, what more can you ask for as far as raising the bar in talent discovery and promotion is concerned?

“Having been selected, they now have the responsibility of picking the best entries from the multitude of entries submitted with a focus on four core areas namely, adherence to the theme of the competition which is; ‘Nigeria: Stronger Together’, originality of the work, creativity, and the aesthetic of the work.

“I also want to use this opportunity to appreciate our partner, First Bank, they have truly proven their support of the arts,” Mr. Amzat concluded.

ArtsForChange promotes authentic Nigerian culture and encourages artists of all manners to show their creative side in a bid to unearth and promote young and yet unknown talents in the country.

Entry for the 2022 edition closed on November 25, with over 500 entries received from six zones of the country namely North West, North East, North Central, South-South, South East, and South West.

The unveiling of the winner and presentations of the grand prize will take place this month with the winner walking away with N500,000, while other shortlisted participants will win consolation gifts and certificates of commendation.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Foreign

[RUSSIA – UKRAINE WAR] PUTIN’S GENOCIDE OF SMALL DIFFERENCES

Published

on

The True Story Of ‘Z’

The deeper tale of the mysterious emblem — a signal of support for Russia’s war in Ukraine — illuminates how the aging leaders in the Kremlin attempt to explain their fetishistic genocide to their own people.

BY ALEXANDER ETKIND

When Russian tanks and trucks invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the letter Z was painted on their sides. There were other icons, letters and tattoos on show, but the Z won the race of symbols. As a feature of war and a sign of support, the Z soon spread all over Russia. Within the country, patriots painted it on police cars, on the sides of buildings and on their clothing. In Kazan, children who were dying in a hospice were lined up in a Z formation for a macabre photo that was widely disseminated by state media.

The war being fought was against the West, so why was a Latin letter — foreign to the Cyrillic alphabet — chosen as its symbol? There was no official explanation, so theories multiplied. Some said that the Z came from the Russian word zapad, which means “the West”; others argued it stood for Zelensky and that Russian troops had been ordered to kill him.

True believers saw in the Z one-half of the swastika, which they claimed was an ancient symbol of the Slavs. Critics thought it was taken from zombie films. Whatever the truth, it has proliferated in Russian life and media. But the deeper story of why it became so popular and what that means is a fascinating one.

 Generations And Ethnicities

Preparing his assault on Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the Russians and Ukrainians were one and the same people. Failing to explain any legitimate reasons for the attack, Putin’s pre-war speeches and articles foreshadowed the weird character of the events that followed.

Many millions of Russian speakers lived in Ukraine, a few million Ukrainians in Russia, and many other millions of both ethnicities were connected by blood, marriage or friendship. Judging by most demographic and social indicators, the neighboring countries were pretty similar. In global rankings, fertility and life expectancy were comparably low, and divorce rates were equally high. Due to oil and gas exports, Russians were technically wealthier per capita than Ukrainians, though this wealth rarely reached them. Judging by the inequality of incomes, Ukraine looked like a fairer, more balanced society. Despite the indicators of wealth, there was more poverty in Russia. And while the statistics of education were also similar, quality was questionable in both countries. Before Moscow started hostilities back in 2014, Ukraine was almost as corrupted as Russia. And though Russia was ethnically more heterogenous, both countries were mostly urban, educated and secular.

During the war, however, we have seen vast and growing differences between the two fighting peoples, with the hapless Russian troops and their corrupted commanders starkly contrasted by the ingenuity and rationality of the Ukrainians. In the diplomatic arena, senile, mumbling Russian leaders lose every argument against their brilliant colleagues from Ukraine.

The Russian regime that launched this war is as gerontocratic as the one during the twilight of the Soviet Union. In 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the future Russian minister of foreign affairs, Sergey Lavrov, was 41 — exactly the same age as his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, is now. Putin has been in power (22 years) for quite a lot longer than any of the Soviet leaders, except only Stalin (29 years). In general, there was a huge difference in age between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders at the outset of the war. Putin (70) could easily be the 44-year-old Volodymyr Zelensky’s father, and the same is true of almost every Russian cabinet member in comparison to their Ukrainian counterparts.

Nothing cleanses the palate better than war. It changes everything — first the present, then the future and, finally, the past. It reverses the natural order of things. Sons die and fathers mourn, not the other way around. Every war brings the problem of generations to the fore. Ivan Turgenev wrote “Fathers and Sons,” the paradigmatic literary analysis of the problem of generational differences, in the aftermath of the Crimean War (1853-1856); Karl Mannheim wrote “The Problem of Generations,” the paradigmatic scholarly analysis, in the aftermath of World War I. A major divide in any country, generations are shaped by their experiences more than by their dates of birth.

“For military and political purposes, markers of difference between two similar peoples had to be created and emphasized.”

In all parts of the former U.S.S.R., the rupture of 1991 established a huge difference between the last Soviet and the first post-Soviet generations. In both Ukraine and Russia, generational differences were larger than ethnic ones. Born in the wake of World War II, many of Russia’s current rulers are deeply rooted in the Soviet period. These boomers went to Soviet schools and started their careers in Soviet collectives. Of the 83 Russian billionaires listed by Forbes in 2022, almost all of them are Soviet boomers. Peers of Putin and his regime, this tiny elite of oligarchs and officials amassed enormous wealth during the so-called “fat years,” the decade after 2000 of fossil fuel-based prosperity.

Ukraine’s leaders, on the other hand, know about the Soviet era mostly from history books. Among the 23 current members of the cabinet, none are boomers. Among the 31 members of the Russian cabinet, by contrast, 11 are.

This war is being fought between two neighboring peoples of similar languages and diverging cultures. It is a war of aging boomers against Generation X and millennials. That’s a craterous divide in any country, but the rupture of 1991 made it even wider.

In Russia, Zelensky and his peers would have been a lost generation. Born too late to profit from the massive redistribution of the 1990s, Russia’s Gen X felt resentment toward more successful predecessors from Putin’s generation. Mikhail Anipkin, a Russian-British sociologist, compares the Russian political life of the pre-war period to a theater: The boomers are on stage, performing an endless play, while millennials helplessly wait in the wings for their turn, and Gen X, uninterested, drinks at the bar. Youngsters in the audience whistle in protest, but the ushers kick them out.

Russian sons and daughters tried to rebel against their fathers in the mass protests of 2012, but they failed. In a huge contrast, Ukraine’s young people succeeded in Kyiv two years later, overthrowing an aging Moscow-allied regime and taking power to lead the nation. Feeling the heat, Kremlin septuagenarians launched a counterattack.

This is not a war between ethnicities — it is a war between generations. A gigantic Oedipal conflict.

 Genocide Of Small Differences

In his 1944 definition of genocide, the Polish-Jewish scholar Raphael Lemkin wrote that “genocide has two phases: one, destruction of the national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of the national pattern of the oppressor.” But at the start of the Russo-Ukrainian War, these “national patterns” were not much different. This may sound unusual, but in most known cases of genocide, such a situation is a rule rather than an exception.

Sigmund Freud wrote about the “narcissism of minor differences”; studying the Balkan genocides, the philosopher Michael Ignatieff demonstrated how small differences turned into grand narratives and mass murders. In the Bible, there is a story about how the Gileadites fought against a neighboring people, the Ephraimites. Those Ephraimites who fled and were captured had to pass a phonetic test — pronouncing the Hebrew word “Shibboleth.” For saying “Sibboleth” instead, 42,000 Ephraimites were killed (Judges 12:5-6).

Citing this story, Viktor Shklovsky, the Russian-Jewish scholar who took part in World War I and saw its aftermath in Ukraine, commented: “The Bible repeats itself in a curious way. … In the Ukraine [sic!] I saw a Jewish boy. He could not look at the corn without trembling. He told me: When they were killing us in the Ukraine, they needed to check whether the person they were about to kill was Jewish. They asked him: ‘Say kukuruza (corn).’ Sometimes, he said: ‘kukuruzha.’ They killed him.” There is not much difference between this use of phonetics and the Nazi method of identifying Jews by circumcision; obviously, neither of these markers warrants murder.

Other genocides followed the same logic of magnifying minor differences. Historians know that the Armenian genocide of 1915-17 and the Bosnian genocide of 1995 cannot be explained by religious hostilities between Muslims and Christians. The Young Turks — mostly intellectuals and military officers — who came to power in the Ottoman Empire, in 1908, aimed to secularize their country. At the outset of their campaign, the Armenian radicals — also secular intellectuals and military officers — supported the Young Turks and took part in their movement. There had been no genocide throughout the long centuries during which Turks and Armenians lived side by side in separate religious communities; the genocide only occurred after their religious differences had been mostly eliminated.

The internal terror in the Soviet Union, which spanned three decades and only ended with Stalin’s death in 1953, was equivalent to genocide. However, the perpetrators and the victims often belonged to the same ethnicity and shared the same ideology. Former interrogators would sometimes be arrested and then meet their victims in the same camp.

“Mass murders happen for reasons that have nothing to do with ethnic differences, big or small.”

For Bosnians and Serbs in the late 20th century, their religious and cultural differences did not play the role they did in the past. The same could safely be said about the Russians and Ukrainians when they lived side by side, in both Russia and Ukraine, before the disastrous war of 2022.

The absence of meaningful differences does not decrease the scale or the cruelty of mass murder. On the contrary, the lesser the differences, the greater the genocide. The smaller the chosen differences are, the more the genocide approaches a collective suicide — an analogy that has been noted in many historiographies of genocide, from Somalia and Cambodia to the Soviet Union and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In “Civilization and its Discontents,” Freud wrote: “It is precisely communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and in ridiculing each other. … I gave this phenomenon the name of the ‘narcissism of minor differences,’ a name that does not do much to explain it.”

Despite Freud’s uncharacteristic modesty, I see something valuable in his idea. If people are perceived as different, they can be used and abused, and the abuse would be seen in terms of economics rather than politics. But if you see another person or people as similar to you, they evoke either love or hatred. Political relations emerge among those who are similar.

Narcissism turned negligible differences into meaningful narratives, which then led to mass murder. This does not, however, explain why and how two neighboring and similar peoples become a genocidal couple. Many human groups are similar, but this does not lead them to kill one another. Genocide does not function as a causal chain of events that starts with a small difference and ends with a mass grave.

“The lesser the differences, the greater the genocide.”

The opposite is true. Mass murders happen for reasons that have nothing to do with ethnic differences, big or small. But after they have taken place, the survivors on both sides explain the slaughter by converting their small, negligible differences into grand, overwhelming narratives.

The number of small differences between human groups is infinite. Critical race theory deconstructs racial differences by arguing that they have no objective referents — they are all created by cultural perceptions. One could say that critical race theory works as an exact antidote to the “narcissism of small differences”: The former turns big differences, as they are perceived in a racist society, into collateral effects of cultural interactions, while the latter turns small differences into decisive factors that, for a murderous group, determine the difference between life and death.

There is no “objective” metric that could define which differences are small (like accents, for example) and which differences are big (races or generations). They are all constructed, contingent and fluid. A whim of history can turn any set of human differences into a genocidal matter.

According to Lemkin, the reason for genocide is the oppressors striving to establish their own order in occupied lands. The murderers want to get power, property and recognition from their own kind and from neighboring peoples. Differences are in the eyes of the beholder, but if one person has power, he can impose his perception on others.

Putin, his state and his army were determined to destroy the “national pattern” of the Ukrainians and replace it with the “national pattern” of the Russians. The perceived differences were small, but the political results were enormous. In some ways, the Russians and the Ukrainians were so similar that no Shibboleth test would have differentiated them. To identify the enemy among a people who looked and sounded like themselves, the Russian soldiers couldn’t rely even on accents — many of them had similar ways of pronouncing Russian words.

Having no other option, Russian soldiers at checkpoints searched people for “Nazi tattoos,” and anyone who had anything interpretable as such on their skin was beaten or killed. And those who sent these soldiers to Ukraine in the first place developed their own marks of difference.

 Fetishism

Russia’s war against Ukraine is as senseless as any other genocide: There was no way it could bring Russia any political or economic gain, and it did not. The only comprehensible framework for it is a classic Russian imperialism mixed with a specifically post-Soviet revanchism. But there was also a third part to the mix: fetishism.

Russian losses have been huge and predictable — but that hardly matters. What mattered was the fetish: a Ukrainian territory whose only value came from the idea that it used to be “ours” and should be regained. Supposedly, this would have brought glory, ecstasy or some other form of satisfaction to the Russian president, his elites and their people.

For military and political purposes, markers of difference between two similar peoples had to be created and emphasized. If not the color of the skin, then the ways of shaving beards or making tattoos; if not languages, then dialects and accents; if not different religions, then different uniforms or fashions. These minor differences grow into fetishes. They are more important than the biggest and the most profound similarities, and they define life or death. There is no genocide without distinct “national patterns,” but the fetishized differences between these patterns could be negligible for any other purpose but genocide.

Nobody understands a fetishistic desire but the fetishist. Moreover, even different fetishists do not understand each other. One worships a high heel, another a colorful bow. However, fetishism is a venerable concept — both Marx and Freud loved it. Why does anyone take pleasure from the proverbial heel? It’s incomprehensible. And the victim, the owner of the heel, is as dumbfounded as anyone else.

None of this matters to the fetishist; he seeks pleasure above all else. It is exactly this disproportion between a part and a whole that constitutes fetishism. Crimea was a heel, and so was Donbas.

“Minor differences grow into fetishes.”

In national catastrophes of this scale, there is always an irrational, incomprehensible core. German historians of the Holocaust call it a “civilizational rupture.” It is important to analyze imperialism and revanchism, two comprehensible sources of these catastrophes — but it is wrong to take them for the whole picture. Your foe, a fetishist, would be happy to deceive you in this way.

Militant and potentially genocidal, fetishist culture is full of contradictions. When the emperor is a fetishist, his poets write odes and his sculptors erect monuments to him. This is hardly surprising given that the fetishist pays them handsomely.

Being a scholar under fetishistic rule is more difficult. Precisely because the fetishistic aspect of events is incomprehensible, the scholar mostly writes about the imperialistic and revanchist aspects. Historically speaking, many scholars who lived under fetishistic regimes were imperialists, but very few were fetishists. For various reasons, they did not approve of worshipping the heel, and they wrote critically about it. Most of these writings intended to explain events as the product of comprehensible factors, either political or military; fetishism was subsumed within imperialism. It took courage to see brutal acts of genocide for what they were: senseless.

There is a fetish beneath every genocide: circumcised flesh, the manner of pronunciation of certain words, a tattoo. None of them justify murder, and only a fetishist would disagree with this. But we know from history that fetishization of these minor differences does take place, and it costs millions of lives.

With the Z, a new step was taken in this amazing spectacle of history. Since there were no real words that could serve to differentiate friends from foes, a symbol had to be invented from scratch. Entirely senseless, it is the belief in the Z, the love for the Z, the identification with the Z, that identifies a true patriot.

NOEMA

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Arts

LONDON MUSEUM RETURNS LOOTED BENIN ARTEFACTS TO NIGERIA

Published

on

Benin-Africa-Art-Western-Museums

A small museum in south-east London has begun the official process of returning looted Benin artefacts to Nigeria.

The Horniman Museum, which houses a collection of 72 treasured items that were taken by force from Benin City in 1897, officially handed over ownership of the artefacts to the Nigerian government on Monday.

The Horniman described returning the looted objects as a “moral and appropriate” response after a request from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments.

There are still questions about whether thousands of items which were held at large institutions globally, including the British Museum, will ever be sent back.

However, the first six objects which were returned included two Benin Bronze plaques from the royal palace which were handed over to Nigerian officials at a ceremony marking the transfer of ownership of 72 looted items.

The items were taken from Benin City by British troops in February 1897.

Nick Merriman, chief executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens, and prof. Abba Tijani, the NCMM’s director general, were asked by journalists ahead of the official handover if they were frustrated at the British Museum’s apparent reluctance to hand over the 900 objects it had held for more than a century.

Merriman, who said the Horniman had been an “excellent example” of leadership, stated that, “Journalists who ask me about the Benin return always want to ask me about the British Museum.”

“I would rather talk about what an excellent example the Horniman is rather than answer questions about the British Museum.”

The six objects selected in consultation with the NCMM as being representative of the collection of 72 items form the first wave of physical repatriation of Benin objects from the Horniman.

A new agreement between the NCMM and the Horniman will allow the remainder to stay in Britain on loan for now, with a second phase of physical repatriations to follow in due course.

Professor Tijani later explained that about 5,000 Benin bronzes were currently “scattered” around the world.

He said that he is hoping that talks with various institutions may result in deals that could herald the items being returned from places including Germany and the U.S.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Arts

ART AS AN ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT: THE PLACE OF NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MUSEUM AND MONUMENTS

Published

on

Courtesy of Alex Duru, Curator, National Museum of Unity, Enugu

Art collection is the systematic accumulation of works of art by private individuals and public institutions such as museums. We should note that historically a close connection exists between private and public collections.

Museums in Nigeria

Most of the objects that form part of the collections in our Museums in Nigeria predate the establishment of Museums. These objectives were an integral part of the traditional, social, political and economic systems and so were functional and highly treasured by those who owned or kept them. They were owned communally or individually and were in the holdings of traditional rulers, chiefs, titled men, priests, cults and social groups individuals.

The use and thereby influence of some objects which were efficacious as symbols of power and authority went beyond their place of origin. Such was the case of the ‘Ofo’ of the Eze Nri system and the Arochukwu long juju in Igboland. Again, some of these objects were focal points for the celebration of ceremonies and in some cases annual festivals such as the fertility figures of the Afo people in the Plateau area of Nigeria. All these led to much coming and going and therefore much interaction in a bid to consult the spirit abiding in the object so as to gain cure and blessings from their spiritual forces.

The museum in Nigeria as in most parts of Africa is a colonial creation. By the beginning of the colonial period in the 19th century, the museum movement in Europe and America had carved out for itself a befitting place as a renowned institution holding and exhibiting objects in such spheres of knowledge as Arts, Natural History, Geology, Anthropology, Mineralogy, and so on. As exotic cultural items were brought in from the colonial territories, European museums became more interesting and attractive, especially to the scholarly class. Therefore, museums were recognized as an essential aspect of western civilization that needed to be transferred to Africa as part of the civilizing mission.

In Nigeria, attempts were begun as early as the late 1930s by some British officers, namely, Messrs. K.C. Murray, E.H. Duckworth and A. Huntcook and others to establish Museums. This was borne out of the need to preserve cultural items in the country against the threat of destruction by the new Christian converts who had no need for them any longer and that of exportation by unscrupulous art dealers. At that stage, the museum they conceived as to be rural, functional and responsive to its immediate environment. But as a result of the difficulties encountered by exponents of museums during the preliminary period, the museums that were finally established were urban-centred and therefore addressed themselves more to the elites and tourists. They were also addressed mainly to the fields of Archaeology and Ethnography. Archaeology was added as a result of many accidental finds that were discovered in different parts of the country, which produce a lot of objects. Thus, on July 28, 1943, the museum came into being with the inauguration of the Antiquities service, where the management of museums was placed.

Today, museum involvement in Nigeria has increased in scope and type. Apart from Antiquities and Ethnography, museums in Nigeria are now involved in other areas such as Natural History, Warfare, Colonial History and Modern Art. The Antiquities services have therefore been expanded and given more responsibilities under the name, National Commission for Museums and Monuments. The commission controls over 34 museums. Some of these museums are specialized ones such as the National War Museum, Umuahia and the Colonial History Museum, Aba in the eastern part of the country and the Colonial History Museum Lokoja. It also caters for over 67 scheduled monuments found all over the country.

Apart from the museums run by the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, the federal government of Nigeria established two other museums at the National Art Theatre after the Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (FESTAC) of 1977.

These are the museums of the centre for Black African Civilisation and the Museum of Modern Art. The former houses mainly the materials from different parts of Africa and beyond which were assembled during the FESTAC and conduct research on African Culture. There are also museums run by other bodies like institutions of learning, State governments, individuals and corporate organisations.

The museums run under the National Commission for Museums and Monuments have a wide range of collections and the guiding spirit of their service is to principally create cultural awareness and infuse the idea of unity into the people. But also, part of the functions of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments is the collection and exhibition of modern art, offering of advice and permission for operating private collections/museums and giving permits for archaeological excavation and for the exportation out of Nigeria works of art that are not considered antiquities.

For this latter reason, the commission offers exhibition advice and space on its premises to contemporary artists to exhibit their works. Such exhibitions are given the widest possible publicity through the Commission’s mailing lists and other prints and electronic media. The aim is to attract as many clienteles as possible to come and enjoy the displayed Artworks and purchase those that appeal to the visitors according to their taste. It is in this respect that the Commission’s work relates to art as an investment because not only do we create the enabling environment for artists to display their works for sale but the museum also has the statutory authority to give permits for the export of such purchases.

For news and events coverage, photo features, contributions and adverts contact us via:
Phone: +2348029115783
WhatsApp: +2347037611903
Follow us via:
Facebook: @Words and Shots
Instagram: @words_and_shots
Twitter: @wordsandshots
Continue Reading

Trending