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Edo State Arts and Craft

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Edo State has produced some of the best crop of outstanding contemporary artist in Nigeria. Some of these renowned artists are Festus Idehen, Drcolette Omogbai-Onyeka, Tayo Aiyegbusi, Osagie Erese, Klem Emoda, Roseline Thomas- Osakwue, Cliff Ogiugo A.O. Osakue, Adama Omoriyi, Ben Osawe, Amos Odion, Clara Ugbodaga-Nhu, Mike Omoighe, Osazuwa Osagie, Greg Agbonkonkon, Joseph Oiku, Reuben Ugbine, Sir Victor Uwaifo,High Priest Osemwingie Ebohon and other like late Erhabor Emokpae Late Felix idubor and late professor Solomon Irein-wangbojo, who in their life time and even now stand proud as some of the world's best.

Formal art education is taught at the school of art and design, Auchi polytechnic, Auchi and the department of Fine and applied Arts of the University of Benin.Benin City.Art galleries are mainly located in the state capital, Benin City especially on the Airport and mission Roads Axis. The bigger and popular ones like Idubor Art Gallery on sokponba Road, Victor Uwaifo Gallery on Dawson Road, Wangboje Creative Arts Centre on Owoseni Street and Ebohon Cultural Centre off Dumez Road all in Benin City.

In the literary arts the banner of Edo State have continued to be hoisted on the national and international fora. Dr Festus Iyayi won the Commonwealth prose Prize in 1989, while Funsho Aiyegina won the poetry prize of the Association of Nigerian Authors(ANA) with his poetry collection "A Letter toLydia and other poems"Frank Aig-Imoukhuede Odia, a former federal Director of Culture, is the pathfinder in the virgin area of pidgin English poetry. Odia Ofeimun A past President of (ANA),Harry Garuba, Mabel Segun and Helen Ovbiagele are authors of note in the poetry and prose genres.

In performing arts, drama group are mostly located in Benin City with the Edo Cultural Groups, Uyi Edo Theater Group, Earth Pot Cultural Group Ova Theatre Group, Inneh Troupe, Ebohon Cultural Troupe featuring prominently.The state Arts council has a performing troupe that has represented the state at many national and international events.The Oba Akenzua ll Cultural centre, Benin City is the hub of cultural activities in the state. A fine architectural masterpiece with beautiful murals of Edo traditional motifs, the centre is complemented by Urhokpota hall which is close by on Ring Road.These two theatres have hosted performances symposia and exhibitions. Edo film makers are coming out with a more dynamic and interesting home movies both in English and Edo language.

Pottery, basket making cane furniture, cloth-weaving, mat-making and gold-smiting trades thrive in Edo state with quality and standard comparing favorably with others anywhere in the world. A craft shop, with wares such as caring, hand woven clothes, ebony ring, bowls, ash-trays,flower pots and bronze

objects,was opened by the state Government in July 1968 in Benin City
The art of basket making is popular among the Esan ethnic group the ready availability of palm fronds has engendered the prevalence of practitioners in the trade in five local government areas that are Esan-speaking. Their products, which are veritable work of art, include shopping baskets waste paper and farmer's wicker baskets.

The Uneme-Nekhue and the south uneme people in Akoko-Edo and Etsako west Local Government Area are renewed for their dexterity and skills in traditional blacksmithing and ceremonial sword. Gold and silver smiths are found in all the major towns in the state. They specialize in the fabrication of ornamental adornments like trinkets, bracelet, bangles, chins and earrings favoured by fashion-conscious men and women.Somorika, Auchi Igarra, and Ubiaja take pre-eminence as major area of traditional cloth weaving. The colourful, artistic motifs of the Igarra people have won national and international acclaim.Moulded statues statuettes and figurines of Olokun the goddess of the sea is a major feature of the traditional worship in the core Bini speaking area of the state.Pottery making is largely done by the womenfolk who specialize in the production of earthenware kike cooking pots bowls mugs water pots pipes etc.Ojah in Akoko-Edo Local Government of Edo state is known nationally for its fine pottery. Other trailblazers in the area of traditional pottery are the people of Udo, Uhonmora, Okpekpe and Imiegba all north of the state.

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