Nok ex­hi­bi­tion opens in Kaduna

Sunday Trust - - ART & IDEAS - By Adie Vanessa Of­fiong

“I saw them; I fi­nally saw them. They are real and true.” Th­ese were the words of an ex­cited 12-year-old Shiphrah Stan­ley, of Di­vine Progress School, Kaduna. She vis­ited the grand reopen­ing of the ex­hi­bi­tion, ‘NOK within the con­text of Nige­rian art tra­di­tions.’

For the young­ster the ex­cite­ment of see­ing for the first time what her teacher had taught her in her Vis­ual Arts class was be­yond her ex­pec­ta­tions.

She said, “I al­most didn’t think they still ex­isted. I had only seen pho­to­graphs of them in books. I am so happy that I had the op­por­tu­nity to see them. Now, I see how real and true Nige­rian cul­ture is and will en­cour­age other peo­ple to come and see the ex­hi­bi­tion too and I will also come again be­fore it closes.”

On her favourite of the ex­hibits, she said, “I re­ally liked the emirs out­fit. It is beau­ti­ful and gor­geous.”

The event which held at the Na­tional Mu­seum, Kaduna on Thurs­day, was or­ga­nized by the Na­tional Com­mis­sion for Mu­se­ums and Mon­u­ments (NCMM) fea­tured sev­eral works de­pict­ing Nige­ria’s rich her­itage.

Works like the fa­mous Nok head dat­ing back to the 500BC were on dis­play. They in­cluded the fa­mous Nok ter­ra­cotta heads, Ife head, Nupe doors and cos­tumes which form part of the Emir of Zaz­zua’s re­galia among oth­ers. The ex­hibits also showed a com­po­si­tion of es­sen­tial items which were part of the ev­ery­day lives in the yesteryears.

In his re­mark, Min­is­ter of In­for­ma­tion and Cul­ture, Al­haji Lai Mo­hammed, who was rep­re­sented by Mrs. Maimuna Idu-Lah, Deputy Director, Fes­ti­val and Car­ni­val of the Min­istry, said the ex­hi­bi­tion was a prod­uct of years of re­search on the Nok ter­ra­cotta by arche­ol­o­gists and ethno­g­ra­phers of the NCMM, Frank­furt Univer­sity, Ger­many, Ah­madu Bello Univer­sity, Zaria and the Univer­sity of Jos, Plateau State.

He said, “The preser­va­tion and pro­mo­tion of this im­por­tant Nige­rian ar­ti­fact and other cul­tural ma­te­ri­als is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of ev­ery Nige­rian cit­i­zen es­pe­cially this Com­mis­sion.”

Mo­hammed said the Min­istry would con­tinue to cre­ate the needed aware­ness that will make the cit­i­zenry value and pa­tron­ize the mu­se­ums for en­light­en­ment and leisure, thereby scal­ing up the cul­tural de­vel­op­ment of our na­tion.

He yet again promised that the sec­tor would be given the re­quired at­ten­tion to en­sure the rapid de­vel­op­ment of the cul­tural her­itage of our peo­ple, adding that, “I will work with my col­leagues to en­sure stu­dents are made to visit mu­se­ums as part of the learn­ing process.”

The Nok cul­ture of Kaduna State is well­known for its ter­ra­cotta fig­urines the world over. They are some of the ear­li­est sculp­tural pieces of Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa.

Mr. Yusuf Us­man, Director Gen­eral of the NCMM said, “The ex­hi­bi­tion high­lights some clas­si­cal mas­ter­pieces of Nige­rian art tra­di­tions. It show­cases the huge and di­verse tal­ents of Nige­rian artists and crafts­men, in or­der to stim­u­late cre­ativ­ity, in­no­va­tion and in­ven­tive­ness.”

He added that, “The aim of the ex­hi­bi­tion is to en­hance pub­lic ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the im­por­tance of Nige­rian cul­ture to the black and world civ­i­liza­tion.”

Ex­ca­va­tion of the var­i­ous sites in the Nok area yielded sev­eral Nok pieces, some of which were taken to the Goethe Univer­sity in 2013 for sci­en­tific anal­y­sis, con­ser­va­tion and restora­tion. They were later ex­hib­ited at the Liebieghaus Skulp­turen­samm­lung from Oc­to­ber 2013 to March 2014.

The ex­hi­bi­tion will be on for two weeks.

Some of the his­toric and cul­tural arte­facts be­ing ex­hib­ited

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