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Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State has revealed his administration’s intentions to construct a world-class museum in Ise-Ekiti. This initiative aims to preserve the legacies of the internationally renowned carver, popularly known as Olowe of Ise Ekiti.

The governor disclosed this on Monday during his visit to the ancient residence of the late sculptor in company of a former Political Adviser to the President, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, some members of his cabinet, art curators and researchers.

Governor Oyebanji said his government would collaborate with the Ise Ekiti community and other stakeholders in turning the residence of the late carver into an internationally recognized centre of attraction.

Olowe, whose works littered several museums in United States of America and countries in Europe, died in the 1934.

Governor Oyebanji expressed his displeasure at the way the works of the master carver are highly rated in great museums around the world with little or no impression of such works in his home state.

The governor promised to work with relevant agencies and institutions to ensure the repatriation of those works, most of which were carted away illegally.

Governor Oyebanji, who addressed journalists at the ancient home in Ise-Ekiti, in the presence of the Arinjale of Ise Ekiti, Oba Ayodele Ajayi, said after completing the museum, efforts would be made to showcase Olowe’s works there and turn Ise Ekiti into a tourism destination.

He explained that Olowe’s carvings were testament to the rich cultural heritage and artistic excellence of the state and Nigeria, stressing the importance of ensuring that his contributions to nation building were properly acknowledged and celebrated.

Governor Oyebanji said he is hopeful that efforts in those direction would help inspire a new generation of artists and artisans to draw upon Olowe’s incredible talent and passion for their own creative endeavours that would give them a sustained livelihood.

Olowe of Ise, who died in 1934 was a renowned carver whose work has captivated the hearts and minds of people around the world as he was a masterful artist who created exquisite carvings for kings and palaces, leaving a lasting impression on those who were fortunate enough to witness his talent.

Oyebanji said “It is truly a shame that despite Olowe’s incredible skill, he is not as widely recognized in his home country as he is abroad. Many of his most magnificent works reside in other countries, with very few, if any, available in his own town of Ise, or his home state of Ekiti.

“Today, as we embark on the rehabilitation of Olowe of Ise, we have the opportunity to not only preserve and celebrate his legacy, but also to bring greater awareness to his work within Nigeria. Olowe’s carvings are a testament to the rich cultural heritage and artistic excellence of our nation, and it is only right that we ensure his contributions are properly acknowledged and celebrated.

“Through this rehabilitation, we can create a space that not only showcases Olowe’s carvings, but also serves as a hub for artistic exchange and appreciation. It is our hope that by doing so, we can inspire a new generation of artists and artisans to draw upon Olowe’s incredible talent and passion for their own creative endeavours.

“To achieve this end we shall do something about this house where he lived all his life; build a respectable museum here and make efforts to bring back home all his work taken away from here. All those pretty works of this super talented man must return home and adorn the proposed museum so that the world can find its way here to adore them and know that Olowe belongs to Ise, belongs to Ekiti and to Nigeria and Africa.”

Also speaking, Senator Babafemi Ojudu stated that the works of the late Olowe were well known in Europe and America.

While promising to collaborate with government to build a state of the art museum in Ise Ekiti, Senator Ojudu said he would do all within his power to ensure that all those works of art were brought back to the shore of Nigeria and especially, Ise Ekiti.

The Arinjale of Ise Ekiti, Oba Ayodele Ajayi used the opportunity to commend Governor Oyebanji for his efforts at repositioning the state and reconnect with Olowe of Ise whose works have gone all over the world.

The traditional ruler promised to cooperate with government by setting up a powerful committee that would work in line with government initiatives and policies towards achieving the building of a museum that would help attract investors to the community and boost its local economy.

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