According to a2zgov, Nigeria occupies a prestigious place in African art, due to the multiplicity of its ethnic groups and the solidity and breadth of artistic traditions ranging from prehistoric rock paintings (painted caves have been found in the provinces of Kano, Bauchi and Oyo, mostly with depictions of domestic cattle, datable to the early Christian era) to current events. Centuries-old civilizations have developed in Nigeria leaving numerous testimonies, especially in the form of terracotta. The dating problems of ancient cultures are noteworthy, also complicated by the humid tropical environment. The oldest remains are probably those of Nok (ca. 900 BC-200 AD) where terracotta depicting stylized heads, certainly belonging to statues, were found. A marked tendency towards naturalism is manifested in the approximately one thousand stone statues discovered (1934) in Esie, north of Ife, perhaps dating back to the Nupe kingdom (before the 13th century). High approx. 50 cm, show Negroid and oriental features and are partially tattooed. Between the culture of Nok and the Yoruba civilizations there is a gap of about a thousand years, which does not however exclude the possibility of relations between the former and the art of Ife (12th-6th centuries), the holy city of Yoruba, which influenced in turn with the vigorous naturalistic style and with the lost wax metallurgy method the following Nigerian artistic productions. Above all in Benin the fruits of the Ife school can be reaped. Alongside this court art, a completely autonomous tribal art developed among the Yoruba, with the production of statuettes and wooden masks of an eminently religious-ritual character and profane sculptures such as doors and panels. Main characteristics of Yoruba art are a lively chromatism and the typical treatment of the eyes, often protruding and with heavy lids. Other Nigerian tribes to be mentioned are, among others, the bini (residents of the ancient territory of Benin), with their effective representations of human and zoomorphic heads; the Ibos, with their masks with white and ghostly faces; the Ibibians, with their realistic art with an often wild expression; the ekoi, with their strongly marked realism. Among the production of the Northern groups, the abstract sculptures of the jukun are excellent, of the chamba, of the tiv and of the afo; buffalo is the most popular art theme in northern Nigeria.
Almost always spoken in English, a national production started in the 1960s with documentaries, short films and a historical film (Two men and a goat, 1966), and was consolidated in the following decade: initially with foreign directors such as the black American actor Ossie Davis who in 1971 made Kongi’s Harvest (in collaboration with the future Nobel laureate W. Soyinka), an apologue for an African leader who becomes a dictator by despising traditional values; later with the four films by Nigerian Ola Balogun Alpha (1972), Amadi and Ajani Ogun (1975), in Yoruba language, and the musical Muzik Man (1976), with a singer from Cameroon. The works of Moses Olaya Adejumo (aka Baba Sala), director of Aare Agbaiye (1983) and interpreter of Mosebolatan (1986) by Ade Love, are highly appreciated. The feature films by Hubert “Chief” Ogunde, with a strong anti-colonial imprint, are decidedly more involved: Jaiyesinmi (1981) and Aropin N’tenia (1982). Also worth mentioning is the directorial debut of the aforementioned Wole Soyinka with Blues for a Prodigal (1985). Although not known internationally, Nigerian film production is very abundant (in fact, about 600 films are made per year), even third after the United States and India; due to lack of cinemas, the films have a local circulation and are sold on market stalls.
Many populations, casually united by the regime or, better still, by the colonial partition, have left Nigeria with a great variety of uses and customs. And while national sentiment has not yet developed, ethnic divisions are deeply felt. Haussa, fulbe, tivi, kamri, ibo, efik, edo and yoruba therefore remain faithful to many of their traditions. In fact, alongside the strongly diffused Islam in the North and the Christian, Catholic and Evangelical religions in the South, the beliefs referring to the worship of numerous gods are still very much alive. Craft activities are quite widespread. The Ibos prepare excellent tableware. The Yoruba are dedicated to the weaving of palm fiber and are very skilled in creating ritual objects carved in wood. Admired among all activities is the art of the blacksmith, considered in close relationship with the gods of iron and fire. The Yoruba are the most celebrated musicians, singers and dancers of Nigeria and often go to perform wherever they are required. The creation of cities and the weaving industry are due to the Muslims. Skilled artisans, the Haussa work excellently in ceramics and leathers and above all colored glass, so much so that the Nupe glassmakers are gathered in guilds and live in communities. The main ingredient of the diet is meat, which can be sheep, beef or poultry, accompanied by the Haussa work excellently in ceramics and leathers and above all colored glass, so much so that the Nupe glassmakers are gathered in guilds and live in communities. The main ingredient of the diet is meat, which can be sheep, beef or poultry, accompanied by the Haussa work excellently in ceramics and leathers and above all colored glass, so much so that the Nupe glassmakers are gathered in guilds and live in communities. The main ingredient of the diet is meat, which can be sheep, beef or poultry, accompanied by yam or cassava; everything is prepared in the form of stews or soups. Fried plantains or sweet potatoes are prepared. The jollof is a dish based on rice and chicken, the egusi is prepared with meat, minced fish and vegetables. A very popular drink is beer.