Please click image to view full size.
The human expression finds their way through varied forms of art and cultural activities. The art and culture of Nigeria represents the vividness of Nigerian lifestyle coupled together with a glorious history of the past. One of the major aspects of Nigerian art and culture lies in the fact that they draw their inspiration from the rural traditional folk heritage of the region.
Nigerian culture is well demonstrated through art, dance, literature, folklore, and music. The Nok Culture, who settled near the Benue River and believed to be one of the earliest reminiscent of the ancient human settlement in Nigeria is said to inspire the growth of cultural activities in Nigeria. The major forte of the Nok culture is the invention of terracotta figurines and statues and the abundant use of iron in these sculptures. During the 10th century, the bronze work of Igbo Ukwu and the terracottas and metal art works of Ile Ife Bronze decorated with ivory and precious stones became the talk of the town and subsequently gained popularity in other parts of Western Africa.
A comprehensive analysis of the Nigerian art and culture gives you a glimpse of the prevalent stone carvings, potteries, different forms of glass work and wood carvings. The bronze works at Igbo-Ukwu, which falls in the Enugu State stands tall of the ancient works of Nigerian art. The Igbo-Ukwu bronzes, with intricate designs, are well known as Ife works.
Famous places like Benin and Awka are regarded as hub of wood-carving, wood carvers have flourished all over southern Nigeria since time immemorial, Excavations of pottery received a great boost with the tireless effort of Dr. Ladi Kwali, who promoted his works through the European countries and widely enhanced the art of pottery making in Nigeria. The major centers of pottery making in Nigeria are– Okigwe in Imo State and Suleja situated in Niger State. Another prominent craft work of Nigeria is cloth weaving. The popular cloth weaving centers of Nigeria are– Abia State, Oyo State and Okene in Kogi State.
Towards the middle of 20th century, the Nigerian literature in English witnessed a rapid expansion and gained impetus when the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Wole Soyinka in 1986. During this phase also other writers like Ben Okri and Niyi Osundare left behind their marks. Majority of the popular Nigerian literary works derive their inspiration from the events that led to the achievement of independence in Nigeria.