Writings of the general word's body

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Kingdom of Ife

"If you're in London and have the time, you must go to the Kingdom of Ife exhibition at the British Museum. It is quite incredible: 100 sculptures created between the 12th and 15th centuries, depicting the great, the good and the bad, from Ife, Nigeria – once a great trading city and still the spiritual centre of the Yoruba people"
- so says the UK Guardian on the Kingdom of Ife exhibition of sculptures from The Source.

Widely considered the biggest exhibition you're likely to see in London this year, Kingdom of Ife's British Museum opening was attended by some of Nigeria's best collectors and art afficionados. The exhibition brings comforting echoes of the golden past, and raises disturbing questions about African treasures in 'exile' in Western museums (though curators are keen to stress that the pieces in the show are largely sourced on loan from the collection of the National Museum in Lagos). Let the debate rage on.

  • Kingdom of Ife will not be seen anywhere in Africa (sigh), but you can catch it at the British Museum, London, until June 6. Unmissable. This exhibition will be worth every penny of the £8 ticket fee.

Update (related articles)

Seated figure, Tada, Ife. Late 13th-14th century, copper. © Karin L. Willis/Museum for African Art/Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments

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