The Edo State Government has concluded arrangement to organise a photo exhibition to amplify call for the return of stolen artefacts from the Benin Kingdom, as part of activities lined up for the 2018 edition of Edo Festival of Arts and Culture (EDOFEST).
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 artefacts. We have over a thousand pictures of the stolen artefacts that are kept in museums across the world.
“If you go to the Metropolitan Museum in New York, there is a space for Benin artefacts. Go to Liverpool in the United Kingdom, Berlin, France, Canada and other museums across the world, we have our artefacts that were looted from us in 1897,” the commissioner said.
He explained that “The Ministry of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs has the pictures of the artefacts. We are planning to have a 2×6 metre size photos of the artefacts that will be shown to the world. The exhibition will take place in the palace of the Oba of Benin, Hi Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II, who is leading the campaign for the return of the stolen artefacts.”
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 artefacts stolen from the Benin Kingdom are located. We need the artefacts back.”
The commissioner lauded Governor Godwin Obaseki 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. Despite the fact that we started preparing for the 2017 event late, the event was one of the best we ever had in the state. This year we have enough time to plan ahead.”