EDO State Government will be organising a photo exhibition with the aim of utilizing the platform to call for the return of stolen artifacts littered in most countries of the world which were originally from the Benin Kingdom. This is part of the activities lined up for the 2018 edition of Edo Festival of Arts and Culture (EDOFEST).
The Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, disclosed this during a chat with journalists in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
“I am excited about the photo exhibition of our stolen artifacts. We have over a thousand pictures of the stolen artifacts that are kept in museums across the countries of the world.
“If you go to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, there is a space for Benin artifacts. Go to Liverpool in the United Kingdom, Berlin, France, Canada and other museums across the world, we have our artifacts that were taken away from us in 1897,” the commissioner said.
He explained that “The Ministry of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs has the pictures of the artifacts. We are planning to have a 2×6 metre size photos of the artifacts that we will show to the world. The exhibition will take place in the palace of the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty,Oba Ewuare II, who is at the fore-front of the campaign for the return of the stolen artifacts.”
Shedding light on the cultural event, Osemwegie-Ero said, “We are inviting ambassadors and the international media like CNN and BBC for the photo exhibition. The idea is to tell the world that we know where the artifacts stolen from the Benin Kingdom are located. We need the artifacts back.”
The commissioner praised the action of the state governor for supporting the hosting of the 2018 EDOFEST, noting, “The governor appreciates the value of our culture and tourism. That is why he made it one of the six thematic pillars of the administration. He has been very supportive. He knows that arts and culture bring unity among our people. Edo’s rich culture is second to none in the world.”
He further said that the 2018 EDOFEST, with the theme: Harnessing Arts and Culture for Sustainable Development will be bigger, better and an improvement on the 2017 event, adding, “2017 EDOFEST was like a litmus test. We have enough time to plan ahead, in this year’s event unlike last year we hadn’t time.