Nok exhibition opens in Kaduna
“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