AFTER acclaim in Spain and Britain, “Dynasty and Divinity”, the first big exhibition devoted to sculpture from the Kingdom of Ife (in present-day Nigeria), begins an 18-month tour of America in Houston on September 19th. The show, which consists of works in stone, terracotta and metal made between the 9th and 15th centuries, is a revelation and a treat. Art from dramatically different cultures is often hard to connect with, but these sculptures are naturalistic and remarkably accessible. Whether the subject is an animal, a person or a mythical creature, each image is well observed and has tremendous presence.
More than 100 works are on view. All are loans from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments. Some have left Africa for the first time. Text and photo murals on the walls instruct visitors about the kingdom, an unbroken monarchy for more than 800 years. Today Ife is a city of 600,000 people. Its present ruler or Ooni is Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II; now aged 80, he studied in Britain, became a businessman and is enjoyably wealthy…
Copyright, Blaise APLOGAN, 2010,© Bienvenu sur Babilown
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