Kenneth Murray

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Kenneth Murray was a British teacher and administrator who contributed to the establishment of the Lagos Museum and was also the surveyor of antiquities in Nigeria during the colonial period. He first came to Nigeria in the 1920s as an art education officer in the education department to lend advice on the impact of European education on modern art and to also fill a void in art education in the country. He was recommended by a deputy director of the department, Mr Eric Swantson who died a few months after his appointment. Reaching Nigeria and without aid and direction of his original sponsor, he found himself stuck in a situation where art education or preservation was of minimal interest. He then worked as a teacher in some schools with art considered a minor detail.

Murray later became known for his effort in preserving the traditional form of art work which is comprised of the application of wood, metal and stone. Since many of the works were originally done with a purpose in mind which included functional acts of traditional religious symbolism, the later day entrance of Islam and Christianity threatened the preservation and knowledge transfer of traditional craft composed of wood and stone materials for art works and also many of the works were gaining attention outside the country with cases of theft by foreigners. Some of his effort in regard to craft led to the creation of a national museum to collect priceless works for posterity.



References

  • Frank Willett. Kenneth Murray: Through the Eyes of His Friends, African Arts > Vol. 6, No. 4 (Summer, 1973).