Queen Idia’s Mask Should Be Repatriated as FESTAC Clocks 40 in 2017 - Dotun Taylor


Historian and filmmaker, Dotun Taylor, has called for the repatriation of the symbolic artifact of FESTAC 77, the original mask of Queen Idia, the Queen mother of Oba Esigie which is currently displayed at the British Museum.
Dotun Taylor spoke at the second meeting of Roots & Heritage Renaissance Culture Initiative (RHRCI), his 800 man movement that is poised to draw attention to the disadvantages of an unguided and excessive westernization of Africa, accentuating a need to embrace Afrocentrism, as the only way to economic revival. He claimed it was pitiful that the British refused to release the original mask in 1977 even with Nigeria agreeing to pay 2 million pounds as rental fee for the duration of the festival under the then military government of Olusegun Obasanjo. With FESTAC clocking 40 years in 2017, there should be an increased call for the repatriation of this special monument of our culture. In the event that the British decides not to give the original mask back to us for best reasons known to them, the owners of this looted art work should be able to have a share of the proceeds the mask generates at the British museum.
The mask is the most famous of Benin art work looted by the British invaders of the Benin Kingdom in 1897. The artifact became popular and named FESTAC mask after the much publicized 1977 second Festival of Black and African Arts and Culture (FESTAC 77) hosted and funded in Nigeria where it became the logo of the festival. The mask cast in bronze, represents the esoteric beauty of Queen Idia known as the ‘Iyoba ne Esigie’ i.e The Queen mother of Oba Esigie.
RHRCI has eminent and resourceful Nigerians from all walks of life as members. These are people who are committed to putting their energies into the emancipation of African intellect using subtle creative means.
See pictures taken at the meeting below.
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