If you are a lover of art and wish to visit original and ancient art sites in Nigeria, there come along in this piece and let’s explore certain places where art is lived and breathed as a way of life. It is true that hundreds of natural museums exist in the country, but let us for once examine natural sites where art can be seen and touched in their natural array.
1. Nok terracotta village
The Nok culture was a forgotten and dead civilization, but it was revived with the accidental discovery of buried figurines and arts depicting ancient civilization in 1928. Radio-carbon and thermo-luminescence tests reveal that artefacts found at the two archaeological sites in Nok village date back to 2,000 and 2,500 years ago – making the artefacts and the extinct civilization that forged them the oldest in West Africa. You can visit Nok village today to see the arts for yourself although many of the artworks are now in museums around the world. You can get to Nok by reaching Kafanchan in Kaduna State first, from where you take a bus to Kwoi and then a motorbike to Nok where tourists from around the world continue to flock.
2. Terra Kulture
Terra Kulture is a place of art located at Tiamiyu Savage road, off Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos. It is a premier cultural center of arts and a one-stop venue for all things creative. Seun Kuti, son of the late Afro-pop musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti described Terra Kulture as a place to get cultured about africanism. Sefi Atta, a writer and published author said Terra Kulture is a creative arts centre for literary, language, dramatic, visual, comedy, culinary, music, film, fashion design and dance. And international author Chimamanda Adichie said “Terra Kulture is one of my favorite places in Lagos – I love the shelves full of books in the library, the good food in the restaurant, the delightful décor, the lovely paintings in the gallery, the theater on Sundays, and most of all, the abiding pleasure of being in a place where the idea of the arts as vital to our nation thrives.”
3. Susan Wenger’s cultural groove in Osogbo
One of the best places you can visit for visual art in Nigeria is the Susan Wenger’s cultural art groove in Osogbo, Osun State. People all over the world know of the annual Osun Osogbo festival, but you can’t really talk about this festival without mentioning the influence of Austrian-born Susan Wenger, the Yeye Osun, who revived the ancestral worship of the Osogbo river and made hundreds of life-sized art and statues in cultural grooves that give the place a mystic aura. The hundreds of statues and figurines made by the Yeye Osogbo continue to attract tourists and art-lovers from around the world today.
4. Tombstone figures in Esie
No one can fully explain the 1,000+ figures and images dug out from Oro in Esie part of Kwara State, where all the figures have now been placed at a museum in the town for tourists to see. Legend has it that a whole town turned to stones after an error against the gods, and all the people that turned to stones have now been deposited at the museum for tourism purposes. This is a place any art lover can visit to learn the ancient ways of the people within the area and what befell an entire people in an unknown past.
5. Nike centre for arts and culture
Nike centre for arts and culture has become a centre of attraction of all arts lovers within and outside the country, with the owner travelling all over the world to showcase the beauty of arts and the culture of the Yoruba people. The works of arts at this centre cuts across fashion, decorations, art displays, and paintings among others.
6. Igbo-Ukwu terracottas
The Igbo-Ukwu terracottas were discovered in Anambra in the early 1940s by accident, and the metalworks and bronze-works can well be compared with the ancient Ile-Ife bronze and artworks decorated with ivory and precious stones, just like the Benin bronze came to be known all over the world. Any art lover can visit these places to see some of these ancient works of art.
7. National museums
There are over 30 museums in Nigeria and hundreds of art galleries spread over the country. These museums and galleries tell the history of the people, ancient ways of the people, showcase past civilizations, and display artefacts that link the past with the present. You can see the list of some of the museums and also check out art galleries in Lagos andthose outside Lagos.