Week 3 Reflection

Week 3 Reflection

What are your thoughts to this video about the bronze plaques from Benin?

In this video, George the poet seems to be representing the people of Benin who produced the bronze plaque. This is because he is standing infront of the bronze plaques and explaining the tragedy and history behind these beautiful bronze plaques in Benin.

The bronze plaque which was never meant to be for sale attracted the attention from many traders especially the Europeans and British. Thus, most of the bronze plaques were taken over by the British and sold to their museums. I think these bronze plaques must have been really valuable to the people in Benin as the reason could be because of the representation of these bronze plaques.

In the video, there was one bronze plaque that depicts Oba’s wealth and status as a king in the Benin kingdom. This is because through the portrayal of Oba wearing a crown and being the center of the composition makes him more dominant.

As we have previously learnt from Year one to Year 3, art objects including sculptures, paintings, illustrations can depict a story or a narrative of everyday peoples’ lives. It can also be a symbolic representation of wealth and power which applies to the bronze plaques in Benin. Additionally, based on my research, the bronze plaques show all men and women from different roles and functions in the kingdom.

However, these glorified descriptions could only depict one side of the kingdom. From my research in The British Museum website, the bronze plaques only depict the wealth and power Oba had but not when he misused his authority as he set trade agreement with the British but never expected them to loot the royal palace and seized the bronze plaques instead. Thus, I feel that these bronze plaques were only meant to show a sense of authority and status towards the king.  Furthermore, it gives Oba a sense of pride for his own status in the kingdom too.

Author: Audrelia Lim

I am an ADM ( Arts, Design, Media) student from NTU who is interested in Visual Communication, Animation, Film. I always like to see how far my imagination can take me and explore my own creativity skills.

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