Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Calling out to the wisdom of the crowd: do you know a Benin Bronze expert?

It seems to be Benin culture month. If you are/know someone who is a Benin Bronze expert, please read the email below (which was forwarded to me just now) and reply. Pasted below that is an email from the producer of the Radio 4 programme which gives some background on the series. Reply to Sheila Ruiz.

Dear all,

I was contacted by a senior producer at BBC Radio 4 with a request to find a Nigerian contemporary voice to talk about the Benin Bronzes in an upcoming series of the ‘History of the World’ told through 100 objects.

Please read below for more information and do let me know if you know/ think of anyone suitable for the project. As I am told, they would like a Nigerian person, who has a very strong take on the subject and who is influential and high profile.

All the best,

Sheila Ruiz
Communications Consultant

Business of Culture (Acting on behalf of the Africa Centre)
6 Paddington Street
London W1U 5QG

T 020 7224 5680
F 020 7224 5681
[email protected]

Here is the background blurb from the BBC Radio 4 Producer
The history of the World in 100 objects is a landmark narrative history project for BBC Radio 4 that will be aired throughout 2010.

The series - each programme is 15 minutes long - will be presented by Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum from where these one hundred objects are chosen. This is going to be a history of the world, from the earliest time (a 2.2 million year old stone tool) to the present day (a credit card) with the object itself being used to tell the story of the age. The basic structure of the series is that of an illustrated talk - punctuated by readings, music, location atmosphere and one or two expert (and high profile) contributions to help explain some of the objects and describe their historical context.

By Week 16 (which we are recording first - now!) we have arrived at the 16th Century and the emergence of unified global networks as different parts of the world start trading.

One of the most striking (and controversial) objects that week is one of the great Benin bronzes in the BM's collection. Neil MacGregor will begin this piece with an account of the British sacking of Benin and the story of how these sculptures ended up in London.

I think its really important that we hear a Nigerian voice on what these pieces mean in contemporary Nigeria - How do they resonate today and what does their existence contribute to a modern sense of Nigerian identity? Something along those lines - but I would prompt with questions and obviously I would discuss this with the contributor in advance.


Anonymous,  10:43 pm  

"a Nigerian person, who has a very strong take on the subject and who is influential and high profile."

Nonsense. Why don't they ask the African art curator at the British Museum for suggestions? Or an art professor?

What's the point of making a public call if what they're after is someone "influential" and "high profile"? Ekpo Eyo is the right man for the job, probably; why don't they approach him by the proper channels (or any one of the many non-Nigerians that are experts on this area).

Nonsense and ingredients and false populism, that's what's at work here.

me,  10:55 pm  

Yet another unnecessary anonymous criticism........yawn...........

Lost at the Other End of the World 5:42 am  

Chief Ebohon in Benin city, who has a pretty good gallery. In fact, he has a personal library on Benin art, history, culture that I hear is frequented by scholars. Some of the stuff on display at Chicago art institute came from his gallery. He appears to be some sort of authoritative figure in this discourse.

Anonymous,  10:52 am  

my mom works with the nigerian national museum and ministry of culture and tourism. ill ask her.

Air beneath my feet 12:30 pm  

Anonymous 10:43pm, it seems you love someone who loves to give you rocks to eat. I'm afraid you might break your teeth on them. If you would like to see what I mean, slowly stand up and place your hand under your mouth. I have just read your last comment on the post below, "Lagos: the new Moscow.

Again, I'm not attacking anon the interlocutor but the likes of you!

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