The digital recording and conservation of Busanyin Shrine in the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove would cost $127,000, according to the US Embassy in 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 administered 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 grant, 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 country.
“Today, we’re excited to announce the winner of our 2020 AFCP award, which will be used to digitally document and maintain the Busanyin temple in the Osun Osogbo sacred forest.”
“Under the AFCP small grant program, CyArk and its local partners were awarded a $127,000 grant to help document a number of shrines in the sacred grove and provide training to local professionals in capacity building, digital documenting skills, and cultural heritage management.
“The 3D digital documenting of the shrine is an essential first step in providing the most accurate record of the site’s existing circumstances and successfully planning a repair project that will strengthen the site’s resilience during a natural disaster or harsh weather conditions,” she said.
According to Leonard, the Busanyin Shrine, one of the grove’s eight monuments, has been severely destroyed by heavy flooding throughout the years.
She went on to say that the US and Nigeria were also nearing completion on a bilateral agreement that would place limitations on the entry of forbidden cultural property into the US.
According to her, this agreement will encourage public and private cultural organizations as well as law enforcement authorities in both nations to collaborate on repatriating trafficked artefacts and developing cultural relations.
The National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM) has been working with essential partners to protect, conserve, and administer national assets, according to Prof. Abba Tijani, Director General.
He cited a partnership between NCMM and Cyark in 2019 as an example, which resulted in a successful workshop on 3D documentation.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to train some commission personnel and do further work in the grove,” he said.
According to Tijani, Nigeria’s second World Heritage Site and primary rain forest, the Osun-Osogbo sacred grove, is rapidly disappearing in the West African sub-region.
“The grove is significant to many of its adherents both inside and beyond the country, as well as other stakeholders, which is why it must be preserved at all times.”
“Not only will this training program empower the commission’s staff in 3D documentation of cultural treasures, but it will also aid in conservation activities in the grove,” he said.
Olu Adeosun, a member of the Adunni Olorisha Trust’s Board of Trustees, further stated that safeguarding heritage places would not only preserve them for posterity but also make them accessible to people all over the world.
He explained that the Adunni Olorisa Trust was established in 2003 to secure the preservation of the Osogbo art tradition and the integrity of the Osun grove.
“The repair of the site and the work in the groves have always been our main priorities.
“The money is timely since the necessity for a full digital restoration of the grove could not be greater,” Adeosun added.