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Osun Osogbo Shrine Has Received A $127,000 US Grant
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Osun Osogbo Shrine Has Received A $127,000 US Grant 

The United States Embassy in Nigeria will invest $127,000 on digital recording and conservation of the Busanyin Shrine in the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove.

News Agency of Nigeria

According to the Nigerian News Agency (NAN), CyArk, a California-based non-profit, received a $127,000 grant from the United States Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP).

AFCP is managed by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, according to US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard, who spoke at the signing of the project’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Monday in Lagos.

The funding, she explained, will help to preserve key old archaeological sites, historic buildings, monuments, and large museum collections that are open to the public and protected by law in their host nation.

“Today, we’re proud to be launching our 2020 AFCP award to digitally document and conserve the Busanyin shrine located within the Osun Osogbo sacred grove”.

“CyArk and its local partners were awarded a $127,000 grant under the AFCP small grant programme to help document a series of shrines in the sacred grove and provide training to local professionals to build capacity and digital documentation skills and cultural heritage management.

“The 3D digital documentation of the shrine is the necessary first step to provide the most accurate record of the current conditions of the site and effectively plan a restoration project that will increase resilience at the site during a natural disaster or extreme weather conditions,” she said.

Leonard stated that the Busanyin Shrine, one of eight structures inside the grove, had been severely destroyed by heavy water over the years.

She also stated that the United States and Nigeria were nearing completion of a bilateral agreement that would impose limits on the importation of forbidden objects of cultural property into the United States.

According to her, this agreement would encourage public and private cultural organizations, as well as law enforcement authorities in both nations, to collaborate on repatriating trafficking artefacts and developing cultural interactions.

Prof. Abba Tijani, Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), stated that the commission has been working with stakeholders to safeguard, conserve, and administer national treasures.

One such partnership, he noted, was that in 2019 between NCMM and Cyark, which resulted in a successful workshop on 3D documentation.

“This is a great opportunity to train some staff of the commission as well as carry out more works at the grove,” he said.

The Osun-Osogbo holy grove, Nigeria’s second World Heritage Site and major rainforest, is rapidly vanishing in the West African subregion, according to Tijani.

The grove is important to many of its devotees both within and outside the country and other stakeholders, hence, the need to keep it in good state of conservation at all times.

“This training programme will not only empower the staff of the commission in 3D documentation of cultural heritage but also assist in conservation works to be carried out in the grove,” he said.

Olu Adeosun, a member of the Adunni Olorisha Trust’s Board of Trustees, further stated that safeguarding heritage places will not only preserve them for posterity but also make them accessible to people all over the globe.

He explained that the Adunni Olorisa Trust was established in 2003 to ensure the preservation of the Osogbo art legacy and the integrity of the Osun grove.

“Our focus has always been on the restoration of the site and the works in the groves.

“The grant has come at the appropriate time because the need for a comprehensive digital reconstruction of the grove could not be more important,” Adeosun said.

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