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Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State has formally inaugurated a 13-member Board of Trustees for the Olowe of Ise Arts Foundation. This board will play a crucial role in guiding the state’s efforts to exhibit its rich artistic heritage and elevate its global standing.

Additionally, the foundation will spearhead the state’s endeavor to establish a modern museum dedicated to showcasing the works of the late Olowe of Ise, a globally acclaimed carver. This initiative aims to enhance tourism and celebrate the artistic legacy of Olowe of Ise.

Distinguished members on the board include Engr Yemisi Shyllon, the owner of Shyllon Museum, the largest private museum in Africa; Chief (Mrs) Nike Okundaye of Nike Arts Gallery; Renowned Artist and Curator, Prince Tunde Odunlade; Ms Abiola Adelana; Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi; and Senator Babafemi Ojudu, who serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Others are, former Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), Emeritus Prof Lawrence Kolawole; State Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akintunde Oyebode; Director General, Ekiti State Bureau of Tourism Development, Wale Ojo-Lanre; Mr Ologbon Olowe, Dr Mike Adeoye and Architect Olayinka.

The works of the late Olowe of Ise who died in 1934 dot several major museums in America and European countries.

Governor Oyebanji while inaugurating the 13-member Board of Trustees at the EXCO Chamber, Governor’s Office, Ado Ekiti, said the establishment of the Olowe Arts Foundation was not just an act of preservation of cultural heritage, but a steadfast commitment to safeguarding the heritage, celebrating artistic contribution and presenting an enduring legacy for future generations.

Recall that the Governor had last December announced plans by his administration to build a world class museum in Ise Ekiti, in his effort to preserve the legacies of the international renowned carver, popularly called Olowe of Ise Ekiti and to house his works which dot major museums in America and European countries.

The Governor maintained that the Olowe of Ise Museum under the stewardship of the foundation would serve as a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship artistry and cultural significant of the world renowned carver and a true custodian of Yoruba artistic excellent and honouring the unparalleled legacy of Nigerian and the world most distinguished artist, Olowe of Ise.

Governor Oyebanji explained that Olowe’s carving were testament to the rich cultural heritage and artistic excellence of the state and the Country, hence the importance of ensuring his contribution to nation building were properly acknowledge and celebrated.

Expressing his confidence in the competence, dedication and unwavering commitment of the Trustees, the Governor said their foresight and passion for cultural heritage will stared the foundation towards sustaining success and global recognition

He said : “The Olowe of Ise Museum under the stewardship of the foundation is poised to serve as a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship of history and cultural significance of the world renowned carver, a true custodian of Yoruba artistic excellence. Olowe of Ise mastered pieces reflect the depth of our cultural heritage, the finesse of Yoruba art and the ingenuity of our ancestors”

“The establishment of the museum is not simply an act of preservation, it is a steadfast commitment to safeguarding our heritage, celebrating artistic contributions and presenting a legacy of future generations. With the inauguration of the board of trustees, we are laying a foundation for this noble endeavour and calling upon you to serve as the guiding force in upholding the mission and vision of the Olowe of Ise Art Foundation”.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Director General, Bureau of Tourism Development, Ambassador Wale Ojo Lanre said the inauguration of the BOT shows the commitment of the Biodun Oyebanji administration to honouring the remarkable legacy of Olowe of Ise, who was an outstanding sculptor whose artistic brilliance has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of the world.

He maintained that the significance of the event extends beyond the realm of arts and culture but also play a pivotal role in the advancement of the state as it brings economic growth, foster cross-cultural exchanges, and enhance the overall well-being of the community.

Responding on behalf of members of the trustees, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Senator Babafemi Ojudu said the BOT would work assiduously to ensure that Olowe’s Museum is successful and become a conduit of cultural exchange with global communities.

While thanking the Governor for giving them the opportunity to serve the good people of Ekiti State, Senator Ojudu said members of the board would embrace roles with dedication and sense of responsibility by fostering an environment of collaboration, innovation and diversity to ensure that the museum becomes a center of artistic dialogue and cultural enrichment

The Arinjale of Ise –Ekiti, HRM Oba Ayodele Ajayi said the event was a dream come true, adding that he never believed that the realisation of the dream of a museum and recognition for the renowned carver would come so soon. He expressed the appreciation of the people of Ise-Ekiti to the Governor for the decision to cite the museum in the town.

At the event were, Deputy Governor, Chief Monisade Afuye, Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Adeoye Aribasoye, members of the State House of Assembly, members of the state executive council, the Arinjale of Ise Ekiti, HRM Oba Ayodele Ajayi and chiefs and representatives of Ewi-in-Council.

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