Edo Museum Of West African Art To Be Built In Benin
Nigeria has announced its intent to build a new museum the Edo Museum of West African Art over the next four years that will house looted Benin bronzes currently displayed in European and American museums, among other artefacts.
Many Benin bronzes looted in 1897 by British troops from the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, in modern-day Nigeria ― are at the British Museum and the Ethnological Museum of Berlin.
The possibility of having these objects returned back home to Benin City and
shown at the future Edo Museum of West African Art has long been a dream for
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An elated Theophilus Umogbai (above), curator of the existing National Museum in Benin, shared:
“The museum will serve as an identity symbol of the rich cultural arts traditions of Benin people.”
Meanwhile Edo state's governor Godwin Obaseki said, while announcing the project on Friday said:
“This project will help us reconnect our past glory to our present realities,”
The 10,000-square foot (930-square metre) museum is to be completed by the end of 2024 and is being designed by David Adjaye (below), the award-winning architect behind the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington.
The Ghanaian-British architect hopes that the building in Nigeria will have “a place on the world stage.”
“It is not just enough to give back objects that were taken but to also collaborate and make this a world class centre.”
In addition to the museum, an archaeological excavation project will also begin in 2021, at a site adjacent to the palace of the Oba, Benin's traditional ruler.
The British Museum and the Legacy Restoration Trust have already secured the equivalent of $4 million of initial funding, according to a statement from the London museum.
Photos > Courtesy NAN and BBC