Urhobo Historical Society

Proposed Text:

Editors:  G. G. Darah and Tanure Ojaide

The Urhobo people of Nigeria's Niger Delta area are some of the most artistically creative of African peoples. However, not much has been written on these arts, which left undocumented and promoted could disappear. The minority status of Urhobo in Nigeria's political configuration has adversely affected the people's creative endeavours, which are ignored while works of majority groups get tacit government promotion and support. It is left for the Urhobo people themselves, therefore, to keep their arts from dying. With a wealth of diverse arts that stand to be lost to future generations of Urhobo themselves, outsiders, and scholars, this project is an attempt to stop the gradual loss of the artistic heritage of the people and also to bring it to the limelight of universal cultural productions.

By Urhobo arts, the editors include all the creative cultural manifestations of the people. These arts range from verbal arts -- such as oratory, proverbs, oral and written literature, and folklore -- to, among many others, drama and theatre, ceramics and pottery, bridal arts, dresses, weaving and decoration. These arts will be discussed in their traditional and contemporary contexts.

The New Millennium seems to be a most appropriate time to start to take measures to place Urhobo arts on the map of the world. This is more urgent as, according to UNESCO, many languages are disappearing because of their minority status. Many Urhobo people in urban areas are increasingly becoming ignorant of their parents' native language. We hope this will be the first of the studies that will create Urhobo Studies in its multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary ramifications.

Tentatively, the following topics assigned to specialists in the areas will form the contents of the book:


--"The Urhobo People and Their Creative Talents" (Tanure Ojaide and G.G. Darah)

The Verbal Arts

--"Urhobo Folk tales and Other Oral Narratives" (Isidore Okpewho)

--"Urhobo Oratory and Proverbial Lore" (Eruvbebetine and Hope Eghagha)

--"Tradition in Urhobo Poetry" (G.G. Darah and Tanure Ojaide)

--"Language and Writing in Urhobo" (Rose Aziza)

--"The Urhobo Tradition in Modern African Literature" (Onookome Okome)

--"The Urhobo Language and Oratorical Arts" (Igho Onose)

--"The Sociology of Urhobo Literature" (Omafume Onoge)

--"The Aesthetics of Open Theatre in Urhobo" (G.G. Darah)

--"Igbe as Psychic/Ritual Drama in Urhobo" (Jo Okome)

--"Video and Television and the Urhobo Experience" (Onookome Okome)

--"Urhobo Performer Artists Speak: Esiri, Ted Mukoro, Richard Damijo, Mrs. Okome, and Akatugba (edited by G.G. Darah, Tanure Ojaide, and Femi Shaka)

--"The Novels of Ben Okri" (Eruvbebetine)

--"The Poetry of Tanure Ojaide" (Onookome Okome)

--"The Novels of Isidore Okpewho" (Femi Shaka)

--"The Urhobo Hand of J.P. Clark-Bekederemo" (Jo Okome)

--"Urhobo Contribution to Nigerian Drama in English" (Atiboroko Uyovbukerhi)

--"Avwerhen: The Concept of Sweetness in Urhobo Aesthetics" (Atiboroko Uyovbukerhi) [available]

--"Refrigeration Technology and Changing Forms of Urhobo Funeral Rites and Burial Sites" (Peter P. Ekeh)

The Visual Arts

--"Research in Urhobo Arts" (Perkins Foss)

--"Urhobo Ceramics and Pottery" (John Agberhia)

--"Urhobo Bridal Arts" (G.G. Darah)

--"Design and Architecture in Urhobo" (Bruce Onobrakpeya/ Charles Majoroh)

--"Urhobo Printmaking and Painting" (Bruce Onobrakpeya)

--"Urhobo Weaving and Decorative Art" (John Agberhia)

--"Urhobo Sculpture and Masquerade Art" (Mrs. Ifeta)

--"Ivwri" (Perkins Foss)

--"Aesthetics of Urhobo Masquerade Theatre" (Simon Umukoro)

--"How the Urhobo See the World through Art" (Tanure Ojaide) [available]

--"Bruce Onobrakpeya: His Art and Reputation Abroad" (Richard Singletery)

--"Urhobo Religions, Cosmos and Arts" (Nabofa and Erivwo)

--"Women in Urhobo Art" (Mabel Tobrise Evwierhoma)

--"Urhobo Culinary Art" (Joyce Ogbodu)

--"Art and the Medical Sciences in Urhobo" (David Okpako)

--"The Place of Erivwin in Onobrakpeya's Art" (Nabofa/David Okpako) [available]

--"Urhobo Dresses and Fashions" (Joyce Ogbodu/Margaret Efetusi)

--"Geography As Agent in Urhobo Arts" (Andrew Onokerhoraye)

--"The Economics and Market Value of Urhobo Art" (Ms. Abanwa)

--"A Photographic Story of Urhobo Environment" (Joshua Omonemu)

--"Art and Identity in Urhobo" (Onigu Otite)


--"Urhobo Popular Music" (G.G. Darah)

--"The Poetry of Udje and Urhobo Dance Songs" (J.P. Clark-Bekederemo)

--"Urhobo Women's Songs" (Tanure Ojaide)

--"Urhobo Play Songs and Children's Literature" (Mabel Tobrise Evwierhoma)

--"Omokomoko Osokpa: His Life and Music" (G.G. Darah)

--"Ogute Ottan: His Life and Music" (Tanure Ojaide)

--"Urhobo Disco Music" (Simon Umukoro)

--"Urhobo Arts as Agents of Social Control" (Omafume Onoge)

--"The Sociology of Urhobo Dance Music" (Uvie Igun)

 --"Syncretic Religious Movements and Music" (Nabofa and Erivwo)

--"The Nature of Urhobo Dance" (Frank Eguaroje)


--"Urhobo Arts and the New Millennium" (Onigu Otite, G.G. Darah and Tanure Ojaide)


Discography of Urhobo Popular Music: 1948 - 2002 (G.G. Darah and Tanure Ojaide)

Contributors should submit their essays on MLA format typed double-spaced and two hard copies sent to either:

Tanure Ojaide
African-American and African Studies
UNC Charlotte
Charlotte, NC 28223, USA


G.G. Darah
The Editorial Office
The Guardian of Nigeria
Lagos, Nigeria.

Submissions can also be sent as attachment (MS Word) by e-mail to Tojaide@email.uncc.edu.

Queries are also welcome. The editors are discussing with publishers with a view to having a simultaneous American and Nigerian publication/editions of the book.

Deadline for submission of essays is MARCH 21, 2002.