In an article entitled “European treatment harms African works?” in the Art Newspaper, (issue no.223. http://www.theartnewspaper.com) Martin Bailey reports that: “African art specialists are questioning the recent conservation of Ife sculptures in Madrid in preparation for an international touring exhibition. They are concerned that Spanish conservators applied an inappropriate coating intended to protect the sculptures during the tour and after they are returned to Nigeria, and might even have removed ancient surface patina.”

Leaving aside the substantive question regarding the use of certain chemicals, the allegation of damage to the Ife artworks that are on a touring exhibition raises several questions:

Why must we learn about alleged damage to Nigeria’s national cultural treasures from a British newspaper? Are there no Nigerian sources interested in this matter and do they not feel obliged to inform the Nigerian public and the world?

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