Writers and performing artistes, the world over are regarded as the “cultural engineers” of the society. This is because they help to create and lubricate the fabrics of societal stands and joints through their creativity. Literary arts in Nigeria, has enjoyed greater patronage since Independence in 1960. With the increasing documentation of folklore and traditions, the literary arts, has witnessed a phenomenal growth. This has equally given prominence to Nigerian authors and scholars within and outside the country.These literary icons include Wole Soyinka, the first Black writer to win the Noble Prize of literature in 1986, late Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, John Pepper Clark, Gabriel Okara, Abubakar Imam, Flora Nwapa, Zulu Sofola, Amos Tutuola, Chukwemeka Ike, Elechi Amadi, Chimamandia Adiche to mention these few. This development has encouraged script writers to have a reservoir of materials for film scripts used especially by Nollywood film producers.
The Nigeria culinary practice is as diverse as the country’s ethnic groups. Every ethnic group is associated with particular cuisine which they hold as dear to them. The major traditional dishes and delicacies which have become national heritage include: Edikaikon, Okoho, Fufu, Tuwo, Akpu, Suya, Kilishi ,Gbegeri, Owo, Bush meat, Fura de nunu, Kunu, Amala, Eba, Pounded yam. Today, Nigerians from various cultures prefer these foods to the western or so called continental dishes. The popular snacks include Akara, Boli and Corn (boiled, popped or roasted). The beauty in the Nigerian experience is that guests are fed generously.
is not particularly an easy exercise to draw a straight line of demarcation between arts and crafts. This is usually so because the same artist (genius) who produced the beautiful bronze head, could be involved in the production of ornaments of brass, just as the same carver who produced a door panel could be involved in making stool, comb or ritual drum. It is however accepted that the first product by the same artist from a mould represents an art, while subsequent products from that same mould are classified as craft, though coming from the same artist.
Each product is intended for a specific usage. Generally, climate, geography and religious factors play vital role in art or craft production as the main motive or idea was utility and aesthetic satisfaction. These factors are equally responsible for the decoration of such objects of everyday use, for example granary, door panels, bowls, knife handle, drinking horns, special design of the rulers roofs and walls (interior and exterior), etc.
Nigerian craftsmen have been in their trade for over two thousand years. Their efforts are known to have produced the terra-cotta and iron smelting tradition of Nok, Ife, Igbo- ukwu and Benin bronze respectively. These high quality works of art represent the evidence of early civilization in Nigeria. The works of art enjoy patronage especially from the royal palaces and homes of wealthy personalities in the Nigerian society. Such patronage encouraged the production of state swords, sceptres, royal drums, ivory ornaments, whisks fans beaded handles, crowns and various royal regalia. A few examples may suffice.
Calabash carving is a prominent craft practice with long standing tradition in Nigeria. For instance, Old Oyo is well associated with this practice as well as some communities in Plateau, Bauchi, Sokoto, Adamawa and Bornu states. They produced burnt or engraved geometric designs on calabashes which are widely used and marketed across the country. These crafts now enjoy patronage in many African countries. This craft item is sometimes used as wall hanging, so also are raffia based crafts.
In the area of buildings decorated with arts and crafts, Nigeria has a long tradition of such practice. This is where door panels, wooden and stone objects are utilised as “Installation Art” pieces. It is a common feature these days to see beautiful art displays and expression on edifices across the country. Most of these designs utilise marble materials as “Mosaïc”. There are also giant art works in front of edifices, developed from wood, bronze, Iron and Fibre.
In Nigeria, landscaping appears to be incomplete without works of art. This is why most round abouts across the country are adorned with giant art pieces. Some of these works tell the tourist about the dominant cultural activities of the people of the region. For example, a tourist entering Makurdi the Capital of Benue State is presented with an art expression that this is the “Food Basket of the Nation”. These decorations depict Nigerians as lovers of beautiful environment and as people endowed with creativity.
The creative inspirations of early civilization such as the Nok, Ife, Benin and Igbo-Ukwu presented the foundation and platform for the creative evolution of cycles and generations of modern artists in Nigeria. Art traditions which started with traditional carvers have today metamorphosed into contemporary art with “western-trained” artists. Nigeria has since Independence produced five generations of modern artists. What started with people like Aina Onabolu has produced young artists like Samuel Onyilo, Paul Oluwole, etc. These artists were trained in Art Schools in Nigeria.
In the area of painting, their works cover a wide range of colours and expressions. These expressions or art forms use water colours and acrylics to produce wide range of techniques. Some undertake a technique known as wood burning or mixed media. Nigerian sculptors produce works on wood, Iron, Bronze and Stones among other features. Their works are found in major galleries and private homes globally,