In Nigeria, culture is reflected in all aspect of our life – in art, dance, folklore, language, literature, mores, music, governance, as well as the environment. According to archaeological findings, many artifacts excavated in Nigeria depicted the early life of the people of the Nok region in the Northern part of the Benue River. The characteristic features of the Nok Culture, which flourished from 500 BC to 200 AD is the terracotta figures associated with it and the extensive use of iron.
Bronzes sculptures from Ile- Ife and Benin are seen as one of the most advanced cultural treasures of Africa. The oldest bronzes are well over1000 years old and possessed rich and masterful casting technology and an unusually sensitive realism. The Igbo-Ukwu bronze works, within today’s Enugu State remains an important reminiscent of the ancient works of Nigerian art. Dr. Ladi Kwali’s work also enhanced the art of pottery making in Nigeria.
The art and culture of Nigeria represents the intensity of Nigerian lifestyle coupled together with a glorious history of the past to bank upon. One of the major aspects of Nigerian art and culture lies in the fact that they draw their inspiration from the rural traditional folk heritage.
A large number of Nigerian painters gaind prominence both at home and abroad. Artists like Ben Enwonwu, Simon Okeke, E.O. Okebolu, Erhabor Emokpae, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ayo Ajayi, Felix Idubor, Muriana Oyelami, Twin Seven-Seven, Jimoh Buraimoh and a host of others contributed to making Nigeria a home of arts. Some of the artists around the country created use their style of works to create ‘movement’ or ‘Arts schools’ like the Zaria school, the Enugu, Ibadan, Ile-Ife, Benin, Osogbo, Lagos and many others turn Nigeria into a re-discovered arts heaven.
Aside from pottery and painting, Nigeria also excel in the area of textiles, Grass Weaving, Wood Carving, Ivory Carving, Glass and Metal Works, Clothe Weaving, Leather Work and Calabash Carvings.
Few years back, Nigerian literature witnessed a rapid expansion, great writers like Professor Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Many other writers like Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, Chris Abani, T.M. Aluko, Cyprian Ekwensi, Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa, Adebayo Faleti, Femi Osofisan, Kole Omotosho, Zulu Sofola, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Amos Tutuola and so on have made Nigeria proud.