The Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) Trust has revealed its plans and programs for developing arts and culture in West Africa as construction on the pavilion in Benin, the state capital, continues.
Phillip Ihenacho, executive chairman of The EMOWAA Trust, stated at an interactive media parley in Lagos on Thursday that the pavilion will be an archives and research center, providing space for learning of art from West Africa and the diaspora, both contemporary and heritage.
He added that the building, still under construction, is for the study, creation and display of art.
“EMOWAA’s initial focus will be on creating an ecosystem for research education and career opportunities for young creatives and professionals in cultural heritage management,” he said.
“The pavilion is planned as an archives and research centre, providing space for learning and exchange, and archival space for works of art from West Africa and the Diaspora both contemporary and heritage.
“It will also be a space that will help catalyse the art and culture ecosystem by providing infrastructure for training, residencies, digital production, and growing a pipeline of future artists and researchers. In short, it is about building platforms for the study, creation and display of art.”
The pavilion, which was designed by architect David Adjaye in collaboration with Nigerian architects MOE+, will house a materials and digital lab, an archaeology center, and a research and archives facility.
The structure will house a visitor center where local stakeholders will be engaged through ongoing initiatives and programming.
EMOWAA intends to form long-term partnerships with other museums, educational and cultural institutions, and foundations around the world in order to foster a supportive platform for the creative sector and to enhance West Africa’s vibrant contemporary art scene.
“It is incredibly important that our work supports young creatives, hence our focus also on contemporary and modern art and the recent appointments in this area,” Ihenacho added.
The EMOWAA recently appointed Chika Okeke-Agulu, the US-based historian, and Aindrea Emelife, the UK-based curator.