We are building Museum in Benin to protect artwork, create jobs- MOWAA

From Tony Osauzo, Benin

The management of The Museum of West African Art (MOWAA) explained at the weekend that it chose Nigeria and then Edo State to build the museum to upgrade conservation efforts in the country and ensure that surviving remains of artworks are protected and to generate jobs and employment opportunities for the people.

Director of MOWAA Pavilion, Ore District, disclosed this while speaking to journalists in Benin City shortly after the organization’s first Open Day, adding that the first building in the Museum’s site in Benin City which is the pavilion would be dedicated to “research and conservation in Benin City.”

She said the pavilion when completed would host state-of-the-art storage facilities, and the best equipped labs for conservation, digital production, archaeology and applied material science in West Africa.

Besides, District started that it would also provide “year-round professional training, internships and outreach activities to sustainably grow relevant skills for heritage and creative economies.

She further explained that the Open Day provided informative tours of the future Pavilion centre and educated visitors on the benefits it will offer the city in terms of investment, jobs and educational opportunities.

“The diverse turnout included other NGOs, students, artists, artisans, community groups and curious residents. Representatives from the National Commission of Museum and Monuments (NCMM), the Archaeological Association of Nigeria, the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), and the Universities of Benin and Ibadan were also in attendance.

“We are thrilled to open our doors to the community. We are excited to get more cultural practitioners and residents in touch with the Pavilion’s work, which is already proving to be a dynamic space for research, education, and community outreach. None of this would be possible without our local and international partners, who are as committed as we are to serve communities in Nigeria.” She stated.

Also speaking, the Director of MOWAA Trust, Philip Ihenacho, said they were already being approached by organisations in West Africa about potential collaborations.

“We are very proud about the work we are doing it is a first facility that will be dedicated to research and conservation for West African arts and artefacts including modern, contemporary and ancient and the foundations have been laid and we are on course to complete the building around the middle of next year”, he added.

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