Culture and Tourism
In Nigeria, culture is manifested in art, dance, language, literature, folklore, mores, music, governance, and even the environment. According to archaeological finds, Nigeria’s artifacts depicting the early life of the people date back to 2000 years. The Nok Culture, the earliest of the finds depicted the early life of the people of the Nok region North of the Benue River. The characteristic features of the Nok culture, which flourished from 500, BC to AD 200 is the terracotta figurines associated with it and the extensive use of iron. The source of the knowledge of an iron technology has been attributed to the civilization of Meroe in what is today the Republic of Sudan, as well as to Carthage in North Africa.
Nigerian culture includes art and sculpting such as:
- Brass and Bronze sculpting
- Wood Carvings
- Ivory Carvings
- Grass Weavings
- Glass and Metal Works
- Cloth, Leather, and Pottery Works
Nigerians who have gained prominence at home and abroad in these fields include Ben Enwonwu, for his landscapes, Simon Okeke, E. O. Okebolu, Erhabor Emokpae, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ayo Ajayi, Felix Idubor, Muraina Oyelami, Twin Seven-Seven and a host of others. Many their works can be found in galleries and private collections in Nigeria and abroad.
The Federal and State Governments of Nigeria have always shown keen interest in the development of arts and crafts as a source of employment and have given every possible assistance to the industry. The governments encourage the formation of cooperative societies to advise on the best way of increasing production and sales and help to arrange exhibitions both in Nigeria and abroad. As a further step towards the development of arts and crafts, governments have opened art schools and colleges, such as the College of Technology, Yaba and the School of Fine Arts at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where students can develop their talents under the guidance of qualified instructors. Many of the students are sponsored by the Nigerian government or by private organizations. Government has also established various agencies for the coordination promotion and preservation of the Arts such as the National Council for Arts and Culture and the National Commission for Museums and Monuments