Professor Ekpo Eyo

Born 1931; Passed 2011

Professor Ekpo Okpo, OFR, PhD, eminent archaeologist, anthropologist, passed away on the evening of Saturday, 28 May 2011, in Maryland, USA.  Professor Eyo was 80 years old. He is survived by, his wife Augusta, two sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren.

He was the first and only Nigerian Director of the Federal Department of Antiquities (1968 – 1979); first Director General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments (1979 – 1986); Professor of African Arts and Archaeology at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland USA (1986 – 2006) He published several works; his recent book, "From Shrines to Showcases: Masterpieces of Nigerian Art" was published in 2010 by the Federal Ministry of Information and Communication, Abuja. His books also include Two Thousand Years of Nigerian Art and with Frank Willet, co-authored Treasures of Ancient Nigeria: A Legacy of Two Thousand Years. Over the past few years, he completed a manuscript (unpublished to date) on the royal arts of Owo, a major focus of his research.

Professor Eyo in his lifetime served as the Vice President of the Advisory Council of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and of UNESCO’s Committee on the creation of the Convention on The Illicit Transfer of Cultural Property (1970) and the Preservation of World Cultural Property (1974). He was a trustee of the Leakey Foundation for Research into the origins of man.

He was honored by the International Council of Museums (ICOM) in 1980 at its meeting in Mexico as a Fellow. In 1980 the Federal Government of Nigeria decorated him with the national award of Officer of Federal Republic (OFR). In 1984, Professor Eyo was named Smithsonian Regency Fellow and in 2004 the Art Council of African Studies Association (ACASA) presented him with a Leadership Award at the 13th Triennial Symposium on African Art at Harvard University.

Professor Eyo was a doyen and an institution in Nigerian culture. He spent a lifetime promoting knowledge surrounding the sophisticated culture of early Nigerian peoples. In the international world of museums, he was a giant and a distinct point of reference. In life, he was an engaging personality, a fearless visionary, and a gentleman. He passionately loved his family and friends, a man of integrity, loyal and true to the end.

A Memorial Service will be held for on Friday, June 10th 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Venue: University of Maryland, University College Marriott Inn and Conference
Center – 3501 University Boulevard East, Adelphi, MD 20783

For funeral arrangements:

Family can be reached on +1 (301) 262-9148.

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