Yoruba monarch declares open exhibition to tell traditional stories
2019-07-01 14:13:03 -
Art & Culture
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By Princess Pamela Toyin Ogunwusi

 

His Imperial Majesty Ooni of Ife King Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi declared open an exhibition last week to tell traditional stories through African artefacts.

 

As part of his historical visit to Ireland, the foremost monarch of the Yoruba kingdom from Ile-Ife in Nigeria kickstarted this exhibition on Wednesday 26 June at Maynooth University to strengthen cultural attractions between the Irish Republic and Yorubas in Nigeria.

 

In Ile-Ife, the ancestral home of the Yorubas, the Ooni of Ife, King Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, is the custodian of culture, heritage and tradition.

 

The exhibition, titled ‘Uniting the World while Sustaining the African Identity’, showcases a display of traditional arts and crafts which carry historical and cultural connotations highlighting the beauty of arts that forms part of the Yoruba traditional culture in Nigeria.

 

The king, known to be committed to promoting world peace, says he finds it spiritually gratifying to express African culture, especially that of the Yorubas, through works of art. In his opening remarks, he emphasised the importance of cultural roots.

 

“Our root is very critical for us to express our ancestors, for us to know how civilisation started, which is by our artefacts and activities and various forms of expression through our artwork. We are here to portray love, unity and passion and, most importantly, our history,” he said.

 

Proud to highlight the importance of Yorubas in Nigeria, the king said: “We are known for the greatest civilisation in the history of the world and we are known for things that are of positive progression and beneficial to mankind.

 

“If we don’t blow our trumpets, who else will blow them for us?”

 

He encouraged people not to relent in telling their stories.

 

“We must tell our stories of the past, the present and the future through the expression of our artworks. We all belong to one single tree of mankind and we must not forget who we are.”

 

Also addressing the audience was Nigerian Ambassador to Ireland Uzoma Emenike, who explained how culture plays a very important role in shaping bilateral relationships.

 

“Your imperial majesty, your presence in the country today represents a veritable platform to sign the existing bilateral relationship between Ireland and Nigeria. It is expected that the culture and art exhibition will be a way of projecting the cultural values of Nigeria,” she said.

 

Ambassador Emenike further expressed her belief that the cultural exposition will project Nigeria in a very positive light and showcase its rich cultural heritage, emphasising that she has no doubt the presence of the Yoruba king and others in his entourage will promote the positive side of Nigeria to our Irish host.

 

“A people’s relationship with their heritage is the same as that of a child and the mother,” she added.

 

Projecting the cultural values of the Yorubas, the art and craft exhibition was packed with variety of cultural displays that evoked celebration, peace and joy.

 

The exhibition offered visitors at the opening an impressive experience as they walked around to see each display, led by Victor Badejo, head of the House of Oduduwa gallery of the Yoruba royal palace. Some of the artwork on display depicted the African maiden, drummer and palm wine tapper.

 

Explaining the significance of each one, Victor pointed out that the Bata drum signifies joy, to indicate there’s a special occasion. The African maiden with a calabash pot on her head, meanwhile, celebrates women, and as water is the source of life, the pot on her head signifies bringing life from the stream for everyone. The palm wine tapper on a bicycle, called ‘Keke elemu’ in Yoruba, is a reminder of the struggle of the African man in primitive times.

 

According to Victor, the House of Oduduwa gallery from which the artefacts on display were selected boasts a large collection of African origin.

 

“The gallery caters to the artistic, cultural, historical as well as the religious needs of the royal family of Ife and anyone who wishes to see the wonders displayed in it,” he said.

 

King Adeyeye Ogunwusi was accompanied to Ireland by a few other kings of a lower cadre, namely Oba Michael Ajayi, the Elerinmo of Erinmo Ijesa; Oba Adebisi Layade, the Alaara Oodaye of Ife Kingdom; Oba Joseph Adewole, Ajero of Ijero Ekitil and Oba Muraina, the Asoya of Ife.

 

The monarch said: “We are here in Ireland to consolidate further who we are, what we stand for and where we are going. We want to portray the positive side of our dear nation, particularly that of the Yorubas.”

 

And he noted that with the expression of arts, a lot of history and stories can be told and express the joy for the warm welcome they have been receiving since they stepped onto the shores of Ireland.

TAGS : Yoruba exhibition culture art tradition
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