The US Embassy has signed an MOU for the digital documentation, training and conservation planning for the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove, a world cultural heritage and conservation site
Through the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, AFCP, a $125,000 grant was awarded to CyArk, a California-based non-profit to document and make conservation plans for the Busanyin Shrine located in the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove.
The Busanyin Shrine is one of eight monuments within the grove.
Speaking during the ceremony in Ikoyi, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, noted that the small grant programme would help document and provide training to local professionals to build capacity in digital documentation skills and cultural heritage management.
According to the Ambassador, Busanyin Shrine had been significantly damaged throughout the years due to extreme flooding and 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 to effectively plan a restoration project to increase resilience of the site during a natural disaster or extreme weather conditions. This will allow for the Busanyi Shrine to remain intact as a cultural landmark for many years to come.
Ambassador Leonard who said she is looking forward to many more similar opportunities to protect and preserve Nigeria’s cultural heritage, said her Country is actively working with Nigeria on a bilateral agreement to prohibit the trafficking of cultural heritage items
“Through projects like the one in the Sacred Grove, the United States and Nigeria are actively cooperating on means to protect Nigeria’s cultural heritage. We’re also initiating new ways as well, including discussion of a bilateral agreement that would establish restrictions against the import into the United States of prohibited items of cultural property. The agreement would also encourage public and private cultural institutions and law enforcement agencies in both countries to work together on repatriating trafficked objects and fostering the cultural exchanges. In this way, the U.S. would demonstrate its commitment to protect and preserve Nigeria’s cultural heritage and Nigeria’s rich religious and ethnic diversity” The Ambassador said
In his remarks, the Director General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Professor Abba Issa Tijani expressed gratitude to the American embassy for it’s steadfastness in its desire preserve cultural heritage for present and future generation.
Members of the Adunni Olorisa Board of Trustees who were at the event also expressed appreciation for the support, stating that the 3D digital documentation of the shrine would make a huge difference more than relying on the memory of aged artists, some of whom are are dying.