Dr. Onyile Bassey Onyile is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Art at Georgia Southern University. He received his Ph.D for research in the fields of African Art, Colonial and Gender Studies from Binghamton University (State University of New York).2007 0-7734-5334-2
Ekpu Oro ancestral figures existed as summaries of the personal and social experiences of the Oron people of Southeastern Nigeria - they embodied Oron spiritual beliefs and cultural history; hence, were vessels for the spirits of the dead that instilled great influence over the daily, religious, and social lives of the living. As an art form, Ekpu held the key to understanding Oron past tradition that was largely destroyed by colonial and Christian presence in Oron society. This book attempts to reconstruct the histories of Ekpu Oro figures and the Oron people through art historical analysis and ethno-historical reconstruction based. It will also be an experiment in methodology, relying substantially on collected oral testimony and interviews with Oron elders, diviners, and titled chiefs. Thus, this book focuses on the significance of Ekpu figures in Oron life, because of missionary presence, colonial punitive expeditions, and how Ekpu figures served to hold Oron collective memories of Oron people despite overwhelming social changes. This book contains 35 black and white photographs.