In Lagos… Africa’s First Wax Image Museum Is Born
THE first wax image museum on the continent of Africa has been established. WoodFieldsFarm Ltd, which currently operates a zoo and park at Lekki-Epe Road, created the museum in Lagos.
Another first recorded is the wax of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former governor of Lagos, which is the first wax image to be put in the museum. The image, which has a striking resemblance to the typical true-life image of Tinubu with his strand of hair, eyelids and lashes, lips and glasses, was brought into the country last week from London.
The image of late Nigerian President, Umaru Yar’Adua and about 40 full body wax images of great Nigerian achievers, political figures, sports men, musicians and leaders are expected in the country within the next three years.
The images expected later this year include that of Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola, winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 election; Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the first Prime Minister of Nigeria and Sardauna of Sokoto; Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, first civilian President of Nigeria. The wax image of Abiola is expected to be used to mark his posthumous 75th birthday, The Guardian gathered.
Wax images are near identical to the person being created, which includes hair, colour, and all human features that make the image very real. The museum is expected to change the uncaring attitude of Nigerians towards her history and heroes, as well as change the face of tourism in Lagos State and the country.
“We consider the wax museum to be of utmost national importance considering the fact that we seldom, as a nation, honour our leaders,” said Tubosun Abioye, spokesperson for the museum, who stated that the firm’s management has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the world’s greatest wax image makers based in the United Kingdom.
Abioye said: “It is pathetic that from Pa Obafemi Awolowo to Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (Zik of Africa), Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Michael Okpara, Sir Louis Odumegwu-Ojukwu and his son, Dim Chukwumeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Abiola, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Aliko Dangote and Bola Tinubu, Nigeria has no place where our children can learn who the real leaders are, their times and policies and the role they played in shaping our collective history.”
He said the firm is determined to change the situation, noting that, “while we never expected nor still expect the people so waxed to pay for the wax images, we are mindful of the fact that we are doing 40 images over the next three years and the project is wholly privately funded.”
The museum is established at a facility known as The Omu Resort in the Awoyaya area of Lagos. The resort houses the museum, an underwater world, an amusement park and a zoo. Construction work has reached an advanced stage, as the images begin to arrive in the country. The buildings are also expected to be ready in the next four months.
The images are made by the finest sculptures in the UK, including Madame Tussauds, which, few weeks ago, unveiled strikingly lifelike new figure of Her Majesty, the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, in honour of her Diamond jubilee. The new figure is the 23rd to be created by Madame Tussauds.
It was gathered that what the creators of the wax image museum are trying to do in Nigeria is similar to the glitz and glamour laced with history, which one gets at Madame Tussauds. At the centre in London, there are several wax images of world leaders, great historical figures, movies and music superstars.
Among the stars are Muhammad Ali, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Tom Daley, Barack Obama, Tony Blair, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Martin Luther King Jnr, John F. Kennedy, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Albert Einstein, Charles Dickens, Pablo Picasso and Madame Tussaud herself.
“One could never hope to recover this entire investment in a lifetime but we are determined to make a difference in the way we do things in this nation. To recoup some of the investment, we expect to conduct unveiling ceremonies whereupon donations for the work of the museum will be sought,”