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Ife remembered

Godfrey Abeshin, in conversation with curator Hassan Arero, remembers the Ife of his childhood. © Trustees of the British Museum

Created by British Museum.

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Video transcript

if a can you tell us the the importance of even the significance even if is one of the first five holy cities created by God in the world right and is the first holy city in Africa in Nigeria so that tells you is very very powerful it is the center of the world and it is the central origin of the code is the land of the girls and them according to your families ology it's related to the Garden of Eden in the Bible Genesis where confirm is about 15-20 minutes tractography is on the eastern part of me so where we are we are one that is my route if I is very important to any any repairman because it's the center of creation it's where all other Yoruba people if you look at the collection here are the artifacts they're mostly heads what is the fascination of the heads that's a good question in in your back kingdom we believe the head is sent off power and authority if there was preoccupied with with religion with ritual and most of this represented the FA cosmology of the hand as the descent down town and they had defined him you didn't define the body did not define the head the head is a is an entity unto itself the fact that we're seeing so many heads here is is something to do with that religious belief you being a Yoruba I presume you're Christian do you still believe in the other traditional who does not learn from these like it's not only in ago as an Omaha boy somebody who makes foolishness is constant drink does the route if I am a Christian yes and affirmed us to become a king grant for example I can say no right welcome from my mother's you know my mother says they're a descendant of the you know of the Kings a meaning that any time I could be called upon to become a king or my children any of my son's right I will not because I'm a Christian see no so I have to follow the rules if I don't lot of bad things might happen because we are so we are so superstition in Nigeria so you know if you ask to do something I don't do it anything any evil will come before in such person so that I'm a Christian will not really count in this no matter how significant is this exhibition to your children the competency not too little my children anybody who is yerba so it's not only important to me even people who have older than me will be willing to come up with it and see you know for themselves what I can see back home having this exhibition here is is in a way getting to know Africa especially for people who are here in the Diaspora it is a window into a very sophisticated continent that we yet to discover just like all these faces which which have no names there are many aspects of Africa that have not been named I think this is one way of uprising it and knowing Africa you