Plan unveiled for the proposed Edo Museum of West African Art project in Nigeria

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A building design for the proposed Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) has been revealed by Adjaye Associates, an architectural firm based in Ghana.

As per the Adjaye Associates’ design, the building consists of a two-storey block with seven gallery spaces on the upper floor and service spaces, offices, and auditoriums on the ground floor.

Each gallery has high ceilings that extend from the main building to appear like a series of pavilions from the building’s exterior. The museum will also contain a taller tower that will serve as a viewpoint.

“I am humbled and deeply inspired to design the new EMOWAA, a project that will establish a new museum paradigm for Africa. From an initial glance at the preliminary design concept, one might believe that this is a traditional museum but in reality, what we are proposing is an undoing of the objectification that has happened in the West African region through full reconstruction” said David Adjaye, the founder of Adjaye Associates.

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The construction of the museum

The actual construction of the museum is set to begin after a five-year archaeology project taking place on the site and its immediate surroundings to investigate the former capital of the Kingdom of Benin.

The kingdom was one of the most significant pre-colonial states in the region before it was conquered by the British back in the 1890s during which large areas of Benin City were destroyed. All the findings from the archaeological excavations will become part of the EMOWAA museum collection and will remain in Nigeria.

The project is a part of an initiative led by the Legacy Restoration Trust, an independent, not-for-profit entity incorporated in Nigeria to support cultural heritage art and archaeological projects, together with the British Museum to showcase the history and archaeology of the former Kingdom of Benin.