A gateway has been created - inviting audience from Gothenburg to step into the world of the ancient kingdom of Ife! The opening ceremony of the exhibitions “African Masterpieces - History of the Ife Kingdom” gathered a great crowd to come and spend their Saturday together celebrating a wide span of culture from 1000 years old to present day.
It was a relaxed and homely feeling at the World Cultural Museum where children engaged in creative design of photo frames and diary-covers from colorful Nigerian wax prints, while both youths and adults joined in cheerful clapping, dancing and singing in response to Edo Bumba rhythm, as the band played their interactive set. Also, visitors at the museum could dig deep into the ancient mythology of Ife kingdom and get swept away by the intriguingly narrations accompanying the more than 100 sculptures and artefacts in stone, terracotta and metal presented at the exhibition. Relating the historic past with the present day cultural values, Yoruba association in Gothenburg presented both theatre play and also hosted a fashion show in their traditional attire, classic Yoruba attire and transformed modern look. Ilé-Ifè kingdom is believed to be the origin and cultural homeland of the Yoruba people, one of the largest ethnical groups in Nigeria.
Opening speech was held by Mr. Karl Magnusson, the museum chief and Mr. Majekodunmi Laja, president of Yoruba association in Gothenburg. In his remark, Mr. Laja said he was very happy to bring his whole family to the museum so that they can experience the wide range of Nigerian cultural. A light rain of silver confetti spread over the audience seated in the grand staircase as the exhibition was declared officially opened to the public. Joyful and more serious moments intertwined. The language barriers could not hold back the joy as Alice seven and a half years old (soon to be eight), expressed that she thought the theatre was fun even before she got the message translated into Swedish. Alice had also taken part in making earrings and bracelets in her favorite colors of orange and white. She was comfortably seated watching the play before her mother got back to her.
The singer songwriter Lánre, a British-Nigerian performed her longing and dreamful songs accompanied by her guitar. The Yoruba audience sang along in the lyrics about the head tie gèlè translating “Let our stories be told through the painter’s brush, canvas holds on to memories, long after we’re gone”. Particularly beautiful was the moment when Lánre performed the song “Memories” dedicated to those who struggle with memories from the past.
Barbro Andréen, an artist from Gothenburg was delighted about the opening ceremony of the exhibition. She was impressed with the Yoruba people at the ceremony in the museum on how well dressed with colorful fabrics they had on and said “Something Swedish men would do good to get inspired from” Barbro noted before leaving: “I am bursting of impressions, so I better go home now to process everything I have experienced”
Mr Karl and Mr Laja
Yorubas in Gothenburg with Lanre in the middle
Youth entertaining the audience with theatre play
The audience at the public declaration of the Ife art in Gothenburg
Traditional look at the fashion show
Most traditional Yoruba dress for men usually go with caps (Fila)
The women adorn their head with headgear (Gele) and iborun/ipele to complement the colour
The classic look
The modern look with western infusion
Hand bag made of Ankara, a local fabric from Africa
Fila (Cap) as a complement to the dress
Tribal mark as part of traditional values of the Yorubas people
Inside the museum where the Ife arts are displayed
Looking and learning from the past history of the Yorubas
Artists that performed when the Ife arts was declared opened to public
Edo Bumba Lanre
Article by; Sanna Ström
Photgraph by ; Roberd Palm.