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Lai Mohammed Opens Commemorative Art Exhibition In Benin Kingdom (Pics)

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has
hailed the very rich cultural history and tradition of the ancient
Benin Kingdom, one of the famous destinations during the exploitation
of the African continent by the Europeans.
Speaking at the opening of the National Gallery of Art (NGA) Benin Art
Exhibition, in commemoration of the
coronation of the new Oba of Benin, in Benin City on Friday, the
Minister however lamented the plundering of the priceless pieces of Benin art works during the attack on the ancient Benin Kingdom
by the British in 1897.
''Although some of the works have been repatriated, till date some other choice works are still adorning
exhibition spaces in museums across Europe and Britain. For instance, the Idia Ivory mask, official symbol of the 2nd World Black
Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC’77) which took place in Nigeria in 1977, is still on display in a
British museum,'' he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the people of Edo, whom he described as ''highly
skilled'' in the arts and crafts, have continued to maintain the rich legacy of the Benin Kingdom with their colorful festivals and
engagement in arts production such as pottery, basket-making, cane furniture, cloth-weaving, mat-making
and gold-smiting to generate income and create jobs. He used the occasion to welcome and highlight the significance of the
establishment of World Intellectual Property Organisation's External
Office in Nigeria, noting that the contribution of Nigeria to the Commonwealth of culture and creativity has gained global prominence.
''Our rich culture is a spectacle for the global world to behold.
Nigeria has become an irresistible and important site of culture, creativity and intellectual property.
The above fact is therefore significant to the establishment of
WIPO's external office in Nigeria.
''WIPO's office in Nigeria will fulfill the three key objectives of
providing the much needed capacity building for Africa with Nigeria as regional hub; support local and regional information and technical assistance system; and strengthen
automated solutions by IP system and public authorities for the country and the region,'' the Minister
said.
The four-day exhibition, with the theme: “The Art of the Benin Kingdom,'' is showcasing the
exquisite Benin art in the national collection, alongside art works
produced by some Benin artists. The exhibition contains various genre of art such as paintings, sculpture,
and textiles.
Segun Adeyemi
SA to Hon Minister of Information and Culture
Abuja
Oct. 22nd 2016

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