If Bronze, Why Not Wood? A Case for the Repatriation of the Yoruba Ere Ibeji


  • Kehinde Adewumi Durban University of Technology, South Africa




ere ibeji, Yoruba, repatriation, looted, artefacts


In light of the current trend of repatriation of illegally acquired African art which are scattered all over galleries and museums in Europe and the Americas, consideration should also be given to the Ere Ibeji of the Yoruba. These figures are not mere objects of curiosity for Western fascination, but they are strongly tied to the birth and death of twins in Yoruba culture. This paper seeks to revisit this tradition based on literature, in line with its resultant art forms in a bid to contribute to the gamut of existing knowledge on the Yoruba twin tradition, as well as to (re)generate contemporary understanding(s) of the subject matter. Perhaps, this will aid the understanding of the significance of Ere Ibeji to the Yoruba; thereby contributing to the call for their return. The paper recommends that local preparation for the return of these artefacts should include training and re-training of the museum custodians of the cultural objects, construction, and renovation of structures to house the artefacts, and the reinforcement of legal frameworks to protect the cultural objects from illegal displacement. The paper concludes with a note that the return of looted artefacts should not begin and end with the bronzes of Benin and Ife alone, these wooden effigies from the western part of Nigeria also matter.


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How to Cite

Adewumi, K. (2022) “If Bronze, Why Not Wood? A Case for the Repatriation of the Yoruba Ere Ibeji”, African Journal of Inter/Multidisciplinary Studies, 4(1), pp. 30–39. doi: 10.51415/ajims.v4i1.954.