Nigeria Art: Rising concerns that age-old craft may be going extinct
Updated 19:59, 08-Aug-2019
In Nigeria, the Nupe people from the country's middle belt, are known for their breathtaking brass works. It's an age-long craft that has earned them both national and international recognition. But there are rising concerns that their craft may be going extinct.
The rhythmic clanging sounds of brass by craftsmen in the ancient kingdom of Nupe - A people known and admired for their works of art for several centuries now.
They have maintained the same old traditional style of processing the metal with a locally made furnace and a wheel to fan it. It's more than a tradition passed down from generations.
ADAMU MOHAMMED BRASS CRAFTSMAN "This work is our heritage, if you are born here and you belong to this clan, then you must be able to do this work, if you are not born here, you will not be able to do it. Our children are passionate about this craft. We don't have to force them to do it. Once a child is 10 years old, he will know where to go pick up their working tools."
Their works have drawn enthusiasts of arts and crafts from around the world. From spears and swords for war in the pre-colonial era, they've evolved into producing various products including cooking pots, kitchen utensils, artifacts, flowerpots. But masters of the art are worried that brass making is gradually going into extinction.
ADAMU MOHAMMED BRASS CRAFTSMAN "This is due to none availability of the raw materials before now, this place is always packed with finished brass work, but now you can see that we just have a few because of the lack of raw materials. We like the government to intervene in funding so that we continue producing more. Previously they order in large quantities, for example, they could order 200 kettles then we produce them. But now the government don't patronize us again."
KELECHI EMEKALAM ABUJA, NIGERIA "Arts and craft are Nigeria's foremost traditional occupations. And have continued to serve as veritable tools for economic empowerment. However, not much attention is paid to them."
Despite the constraints, The people of Nupe kingdom are determined to keep their traditional crafts alive. They're exploring the use of other metals including aluminum, silver and copper. Kelechi Emekalam, CGTN, Abuja, Nigeria.