Passport to Nigeria Begins!

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(left) Torso of a king. Wunmonije Compound, Ife. Early-mid-16th century C.E. Copper alloy. © National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria. Photo courtesy Museum for African Art/Fundación Botín. (right) Head with crown. Wunmonije Compound, Ife. 14th-early 15th century C.E. Copper alloy. © National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria. Photo courtesy Museum for African Art/Fundación Botín. (Photos: Karin L. Willis)

Last week was the beginning of “Passport to Nigeria,” a program in partnership with the Museum for African Art that explores the country of Nigeria using the Museum’s exhibition and education-related materials as well as digital media.

My colleague Erika (at the Museum) and I are excited to be running the program at Global Kids every Tuesday, which brings together teenagers from different schools in New York City. Our first session introduced students to the program and asked them what they would be interested in learning about with regards to the history and culture of Nigeria. Many of them said that they knew little about Nigeria but wanted to learn as much as they can. Students also learned about some of the activities planned for them, which includes:

- A look at Ife Art in ancient Nigeria and a discussion about symbols of power
- Background on activist and musician Fela Kuti and a workshop incorporating percussion music and dance
- A hands-on art workshop using found objects to create sculptures, inspired by artist El Anatsui
- An exploration of symbols, traditions, and folktales in artwork
- A trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Video blogging as a form of reflection after each session
- A multi-media final project that uses students’ video blogs
- A final celebration with Nigerian food

While students are learning about the art, culture, and history of Nigeria, the hope is that they will make connections to their own lives, share their learning with others through digital media, and explore how art and music are powerful forms of expression.

This week, students will be learning about ancient Nigeria by looking at Ife art and the Yoruba people and thinking about symbols of power both in ancient Nigeria and in our culture today. They will also continue their video blog reflections and learn how to upload them to our blog.