U.S Mission pledges to promote tourism and rock art in Nigeria

On May 5, 2022, the U.S. Mission was at the National Museum in Lagos to show its continuous support for art in Nigeria. It has collaborated with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and the Trust for African Rock Art to launch a unique travelling exhibition called “The Ancient Rock Art of Nigeria.”

The Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation was the sponsor of the program. The purpose of the exhibition was to create awareness about the importance of preserving some cultural treasures which are at risk of perils, specifically Nigerian rock art.

During the event, the acting U.S consul, Brandon Hudspeth, remarked that the scope and depth of the various Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation projects in the country have helped strengthen collaborative efforts in preserving Nigeria’s cultural heritage. Furthermore, future generations and tourism could benefit from this incredible collaboration.

The director-general of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Professor Abba Issa Tijani asserted that the effort of the U.S Consul would have a great impact on the nation’s art. He said, “The U.S. Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation has been yielding great results in terms of capacity building, documentation and digitisation of our rich cultural heritage. This is just the beginning. We look forward to many more productive partnerships with the U.S. government.”

The executive chairman of Trust for African Rock Art, David Coulson, reaffirmed the importance of enlightenment to people. According to him, both human and natural forces contribute different kinds of threats to rock arts. Therefore, it is vital to educate the people living close to these art pieces about what that means. “It is essential that we increase the involvement of community members in efforts to preserve and benefit from their rich cultural heritage,” Coulson said.

The event took place at the National Museum in Lagos. Displayed during the exhibitions were monoliths from museum storage rooms. These include more than 50 photographs, thematic videos, and 3D reproductions, which have not been shown publicly for decades.
One crucial component of the project is to preserve rock art in both Cross River and Jigawa states. In addition, it will ensure the conservation of rocks by providing proper documentation and basic infrastructure.

The objective of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments and the Trust for African Rock Art is to provide expertise and leadership for the project execution.

The project also implored the involvement of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and the University of Calabar to strengthen a national network that will conserve and promote the ancient rock art of Nigeria.

Visitors can see the exhibition for the next four weeks in Lagos. After that, the next exhibition will open by July, at the National Museum in Calabar and by September, at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria.

Source: Business Day