Message from the Save Our Art! Save Our Heritage! Campaign Chair, Mr. Olufemi A, Akinsanya
Susanne Wenger and her collaborating Osogbo artists have bequeathed the Osun Osogbo Grove to Nigeria and earned us a UNESCO World Heritage site. We, the present generation of Nigerians, have a duty to preserve the spectacular artistic works in the Grove and hand them over in perfect form, to coming generations. The works serve as testament to continuation of the tradition of great creativity of Nigerian artists in our own time?! Such creativity as was earlier demonstrated through remarkable cultural production of artworks by various peoples of Nigeria: the Nok terracotta, Benin bronze and ivory, the sublime abstract-to-semi-abstract carvings and sculptures of the Mumuye, the Koro, the Ogoni etc; the complicated carvings and constructions by the Ibo; or represented by great productions of individual artists, such as the inimitable Olowe of Ise (circa 1875 – 1938), regarded a genius and the most remarkable Yoruba carver, ever!
The Osun Osogbo Grove works are even more remarkable because of the monumental nature of many of the sculptures. These works must be used to rally and inspire generations of Nigerians, to remind us that we are a people with worthy cultural and historical achievements, from which we can draw a sense of identity and pride; and to spur us to commit, each and all, to focus on work and preoccupations that add to society and will long remain after we too have departed from this plane.
All mortals will sooner perish, and may sooner, be forgotten. Great works of art help perpetuate the extraordinary achievements of peoples and times past, and can inspire the living and future generations to aim higher; feel pride in their past and history; make them determined to make their own lives and times count too!
Mr. Olufemi A. Akinsanya
Save Our Art! Save Our Heritage!
*Femi Akinsanya is an investment banker, freelance financial advisor and private equity investor. His interest in African art dates back to his childhood in Ibadan, Nigeria where he grew up surrounded by indigenous artworks that played a major role in daily life, culture and religious rituals. He lives in Lagos, Nigeria.