"A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving."

“They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.”
— Chinua Achebe

We can begin to right the wrongs of the past by helping ensure that future stewards of these works have the resources to tell the story of Benin for generations to come. It will take time, patience, and deep discussions about establishing practices that will guide these decisions going forward, and it is something I am committed to doing in my capacity as an advisor for the new museum.

"Traditional relationships of dependency do not have to be perpetuated in a new format. Only then can a new economy of relations with Africa be initiated...."

— Benedict Savoy 

Endy 2

Ndubuisi C. Ezeluomba

Curator of African Art at the VMFA

Raised in Benin City, Nigeria, where he initially trained as an artist, Ezeluomba received his Ph.D. in art history from the University of Florida, Gainesville. In 2017, he earned the University of Florida Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Award for his dissertation, Olokun Shrines: Their Functions in the Culture of the Benin Speaking People of Southern Nigeria. Ezeluomba graduated from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, completing his master’s thesis focused on the contemporary Nigerian sculptor Obi Ekwenchi. He received his bachelor’s degree in fine and applied arts from the University of Benin. 

Internationally recognized as one of the leading curators and scholars in his field, Ezeluomba has contributed to numerous publications including Black Art Quarterly; African Arts journal; Hyperallergic; Routledge Encyclopedia of African Studies; African Artists: From 1882 to Now (Phaidon) and Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism among others.  

Photos: Benin plaque, Ethnological Museum Berlin; Print Benin City from Olfert Dapper’s “Description of Africa’, 1686 French edition; Benin Bronzes, looted after British troops crushed the Kingdom of Benin in February 1897, restitution 2022; Bronze head, Ethnological Museum exhibit, Berlin, Germany; Bronze Leopards, photo by Rolf Dietrich Brecher; Brass plaque from the Kingdom of Benin. Images granted use from author, or under creative commons and / or public domain. 

Arts Management, Cultural Policy, & the African Diaspora

Art Management, Cultural Policy, & the African Diaspora