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Nigeria 100 years ago

plakat_nigeria100years.jpgNigeria 100 years ago – Through the eyes of Leo Frobenius and his expedition team  

Exhibition series with images from the ethnographic picture archive and the photographic archive of the Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt (Germany)


Opening on  9.11.2010 in Abuja, Ife, Makurdi, Minna und Yola (Nigeria) in cooperation with the Nigerian National Commission for Museums and Monuments.



All countries have at one time or another been explored by travellers, geographers, anthropologists and other adventurers. The materials collected during such exploratory expeditions have become invaluable records of events and situations taking place at those points in time. Leo Frobenius' travels in Nigeria between 1910 and 1912 fall into this category. On the completion of this expedition, Frobenius and his two colleagues had produced more than 3,000 images (photographs, sketches, oil paintings, aquarelles, etc.).

These images give a rich impression of architecture, art, artisanship, royalty and day-to-day life in Nigeria one hundred years ago, mainly in the areas of the Yoruba, Tiv and Nupe as well as Adamawa. For several reasons, however, the materials collected by Frobenius have not been accessible to the public.With this in mind, the National Commission for Museums and Monuments in collaboration with the Frobenius Institute at the Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany have decided, on the occasion of the centenary of Frobenius' expedition andthe 50th anniversary of Nigeria's independence, to exhibit this magnificent archival collection, with a view to stimulating discussion on his legacy. We may have reason to not agree with Frobenius' methods and some of his conclusions; nonetheless, we cannot but appreciate the wealth of knowledge that can be attained from viewing his photographs, drawings and sketches.



See the different exhibition parts (click to open):

1.Introduction (included in all regional parts)

2. Yorubaland (at the National Museum, Ile-Ife, Osun State)

3. Nupeland (at the U.K. Bello Art Theater, Minna, Niger State)

4. Tivland and Jukunland (at the National Museum, Makurdi, Benue State)

5. Adamawa (at the Lamido Zubairu Educational Center, Yola, Adamawa State)

6. Portraits (included in the regional parts)



Press Coverage (selection, click to enlarge):









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Opening ceremonies (click to see the pictures):

1. Abuja, 9 Nov. 2010

2. Ife, 9 Nov. 2010

3. Makurdi, 9 Nov. 2010

4. Minna, 9 Nov. 2010

5. Yola, 9 Nov. 2010



Exhibition catalogue:




Richard Kuba und Musa Hambolu „Nigeria 100 Years Ago – Through the Eyes of Leo Frobenius and his Expedition Team“.

Frankfurt, Frobenius Institut, 2010. - 82 S.

ISBN: 978-3-9806506-4-9 





  • Karl-Heinz Kohl: The Legacy of Frobenius in Germany
  • Olayemi Akinwumi: Germay's Colonial Involvment in Nigeria
  • Hans Peter Hahn: Leo Frobenius in West Africa. Some Remarks on the History of Anthropology
  • Musa Hambolu: Nigeria 1910-1912. The Context of Leo Frobenius' Exploration
  • Richard Kuba: Travelling Frobenius
  • Folayemi Famoroti: Leo Frobenius' Contribution to the History of African Art
  • Gabriele Weisser: Context and Arrangement. Leo Frobenius' Mask Images from Nigeria
  • Editha Platte: Found and Lost in Ife: Leo Frobenius and the Olokun Bronze Head