The management of the Museum of West African Art, Edo (MOWAA) at the weekend said the centre will serve as a hub for the planned Benin cultural district.
Ore Disu, director, MOWAA Pavilion made the remarks at a press conference to celebrate this year’s MOWAA Open Day annual public event in Benin City.
Ore said that the scope of the organisation was not restricted to art from Edo State but will also cover West African countries.
She added that when operational, MOWAA will help preserve and display West African art from antiquity to contemporary and modern creative artisans.
She said the organisation was an independent non-profit embarking on an ambitious endeavour to create a world-class arts, culture, and heritage complex.
The director said that the centre was owned and operated by the EMOWAA Trust, and presided over by an independent board of trustees.
She noted that MOWAA’s mission was to build a self-sustaining ecosystem for contemporary creative and heritage professionals as well as to also support the preservation of West African arts, culture, and heritage.
According to her, our goal is to contribute to the sustainable preservation of rare and irreplaceable cultural material in West Africa for today’s and future generations and to provide viable careers for researchers, conservators and other practitioners.
She said the Open Day among others sought to build the public’s understanding of what archaeology is, providing a glimpse of what it looks like in practice and the knowledge gained from it.
She added that MOWAA hoped to upgrade conservation efforts in Nigeria as well as to ensure that any construction work that could damage surviving cultural remains was properly protected.
According to her, when completed, the pavilion will host state-of-the-art storage facilities, best-equipped labs for conservation, digital production and training specialists.
“Others are archaeology and applied material science in West Africa in order to professionalise heritage practice in the sub-Saharan region.
“It will feature an exhibition gallery with views into the collection study area, an auditorium, conference rooms, conservation laboratories, library among others”, she stated.
She, however, added that MOWAA was a guest in the Benin Kingdom and its goal was to support and work with cultural institutions in Edo State and beyond, including the coming Royal Benin Museum so as to facilitate a thriving creative hub and tourism destination in Edo State. She said that the construction of the pavilion was scheduled to be completed in early 2024.
On his part, Phillip Ihenacho, director of MOWAA Trust said the initial name of the organization Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) has been changed to Museum of West African Art, Edo (MOWAA).
Ihenacho said the name was changed in order to update its brand identity.
“We have decided to update our brand identity to emphasise our focus. So, going forward we will use the Museum of West African Art, Edo (MOWAA).
“This signifies a new chapter for our organization. We have already been approached by organisations in West Africa about potential collaborations.
“In the future, we hope to establish other centres of creativity and learning across Nigeria and beyond to grow our global presence”, he added.