The Edo Museum of West African Art (EMOWAA) Trust has unveiled its plans and programmes towards developing arts and culture in West Africa as work progresses on constructing the pavilion in Benin, the state capital.


Speaking at an interactive media parley in Lagos on Thursday, Phillip Ihenacho, the executive chairman of The EMOWAA Trust, said the pavilion will be an archives and research centre, providing space for learning of art from West Africa and the diaspora both contemporary and heritage.

He added that the building, still under construction, is for the study, creation and display of art.

“EMOWAA’s initial focus will be on creating an ecosystem for research education and career opportunities for young creatives and professionals in cultural heritage management,” he said.


“The pavilion is planned as an archives and research centre, providing space for learning and exchange, and archival space for works of art from West Africa and the Diaspora both contemporary and heritage.

“It will also be a space that will help catalyse the art and culture ecosystem by providing infrastructure for training, residencies, digital production, and growing a pipeline of future artists and researchers. In short, it is about building platforms for the study, creation and display of art.”

The pavilion, designed by David Adjaye, the architect, in collaboration with Nigerian architects MOE+, will house materials and digital lab, archaeology centre and research and archives facility.


The building will house a visitor centre for engaging the local stakeholders through ongoing initiatives and programming.

By working in collaboration with other museums, educational and cultural institutions and foundations across the world, EMOWAA intends to create long-term partnerships that foster a supportive platform for the creative sector and enhance the vibrant contemporary art scene in West Africa.

“It is incredibly important that our work supports young creatives, hence our focus also on contemporary and modern art and the recent appointments in this area,” Ihenacho added.

The EMOWAA recently appointed Chika Okeke-Agulu, the US-based historian, and Aindrea Emelife, the UK-based curator.


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