Google Partners Local Community To Restore, Preserve Osun Grove

Google Partners Local Community To Restore, Preserve Osun Grove
  • PublishedOctober 29, 2022


Yusuf Oketola

GOOGLE Arts & Culture in partnership with Adunni Olorisha Trust and CyArk has announced the launch of the first and largest digital library of content showcasing the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove. 

The launch which was held in Lagos last Thursday will mark the digital preservation of one of Nigeria’s remaining sacred groves, being part of Google Arts and Culture’s wider Heritage on the Edge project. 

Edge project supports site managers in digitally documenting heritage sites at risk due to climate change, using the imagery captured to support community maintenance and conservation further.

The highlights of the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove project which can be explored online include a Street View of the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove, including the Busanyin Shrine before it was affected by the flood and 3D models of four of the site’s dynamic shrines. 

The collection allows people to view 900 high-resolution photographs of the site, contemporary and historical artworks and sculptures, artists and spiritual leaders. 

It also tells 28 stories about art, community and spirituality at the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove, and the effect of climate change at the site and includes three audio interviews, including one with popular artist Jimoh Buraimoh about Susan Wenger. 

Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, expressed his delight and gratitude that the Grove has been brought online. 

He said: “I said during the visit to the Grove in 2019 that it was important to refocus national and global attention on this world heritage site, and I am glad we achieved our purpose, as can be attested to by this project digitising the shrine and its surroundings. 

The Program Manager and Digital Archaeologist, Google Arts & Culture, Chance Coughenour, while speaking at the event, said: “We are grateful that through partnerships we are now able to preserve one of the most recognised, culturally rich Yoruba heritage site, known for active traditional worship and contemporary art movements.”

In his address, the Chairman, Save Our Art! Save Our Heritage! Campaign, Olufemi Akinsanya, said: “The Yoruba community is one of the largest in Nigeria and the Osun Osogbo Sacred Grove is truly a unique and special place that embodies the essence of the Yoruba culture and heritage.” 

Robin Campbell, a member of the Adunni Olorisha Trust/ Adunni Osun Foundation, stated that over $300,000 has been raised and spent in restoring and preserving the site over the past 15 years. 

He said: “The funds have been raised for interested individuals and organisations. It will require roughly ₦10–15 million ($14,300–21,500) per annum to keep this historical site running optimally.”

The preservation of the historical site is expected to increase tourism, provide an avenue for the younger generation to learn about history and provide jobs for artisans and tour guides.


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