Nigeria | Sierra Leone | Re-engaging with Colonial Archives in Postcolonial Times
[Re:]Entanglements is the website of a project entitled ‘Museum Affordances’ funded by the UK’s Arts & Humanities Research Council, which is re-engaging with a remarkable ethnographic archive – including objects, photographs, sound recordings, botanical specimens, published work and fieldnotes – assembled by the colonial anthropologist, N. W. Thomas, in Southern Nigeria and Sierra Leone between 1909 and 1915. As well as better understanding the historical context in which these materials were gathered, the project seeks to re-think their significance in the present. What do they mean for different communities today? What actions do they make possible? How might we creatively explore their latent possibilities?
As the project develops, we’ll be adding lots of material to the website relating to the culture and heritage of Nigeria and Sierra Leone. If you are interested in finding out more or would like to get involved please contact us!
Oladapo Afolayan hails from Osi-Ilorin of the famous Bamidele Areoogun Yoruba North wood carving tradition. Inspired by Esie stone images he trained as a sculptor at Zaria. He has taught at Auchi Polytechnic since 1988, serving as Dean of the School of Art and Industrial Design between 2014-16. He is president of the Sculptors' Association of Nigeria.
University of Benin
Jean Borgatti obtained her PhD in Art History at UCLA in 1976 and has been engaged in field research on the arts of the North Edo area for almost her entire career. She first started working with the Northcote Thomas's photograph and object collections in 1969. She has a long-standing relationship with the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.
Monuments & Relics Commission
Charlie Haffner is Chairman of the Monuments & Relics Commission, the statutory body reponsible for the management of Sierra Leone's cultural heritage and National Museums. He is one of Sierra Leone's foremost dramatists and performers. Among his plays is Amistad Kata-Kata, about the famous slave revolt led by Sengbe Pieh, one of Sierra Leone's 'national heroes'.
Igbo Studies Initiative
Yvonne Mbanefo is a multidisciplinary IT professional & advocate. Her work connects the dots between languages, culture and identity, by making African languages accessible through digital and traditional media. Yvonne's extensive research led to the publishing of the first and bestselling illustrated Igbo Dictionary for children. She is a convener of the annual Igbo Conference at SOAS, University of London.
Enotie Ogbebor is a prolific artist and singer-songwriter, and an authority on Benin Court Art. He established Nosona Studios in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, which has become a creative hub for training young artists and a space for visiting artists to Benin.
Kent Onah is senior lecturer and until recently Head of Painting in the School of Art and Industrial Design at Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State, Nigeria. A master painter member of the Society of Nigerian Artists, he draws upon traditional motifs, material culture and cultural performance in his work.
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
Ikenna Emmanuel Onwuegbuna is senior lecturer and head of the Department of Music, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is editor of the International Journal of Arts and Humanities. He is particularly interested in working with the historical sound recordings of N. W. Thomas from an ethnomusicological perspective.
National Museum, Lagos
Taye Austin Pedro heads the Library and Archive unit at the National Museum Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria. He holds a BA in Business Education from Ogun State University and an MA in Library and Information Studies from the University of Ibadan. Among its many important archival holdings, Taye is responsible for the care of several albums of Northcote Thomas's photographs held at the National Museum.
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
John Kelechi Ugwuanyi teaches in the Department of Archaeology and Tourism at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and is currently completing a PhD at the University of York in which he is investigating the traditional village square in Igbo culture and cosmology. His broad research interests include museum and heritage studies, as well as indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies.
University of Cambridge
Theo Borgvin-Weiss is a museum professional currently pursuing doctoral research at the University of Cambridge on the relationship between Christianity and the production of cultural heritage in southern Nigeria. He is interested in how contemporary religion shapes perceptions of the past and determines its value in the present, including how these dynamics play out in the work of the [Re:]Entanglements project.