Cross River Monoliths

A Nigerian project aimed at documenting, conserving and raising awareness about the legacy represented by monoliths found near the Cross River, in which they were shaped and subsequently carved by men.

Project year: 2020

Thanks to its cutting-edge 3D laser technology, Factum Arte has mastered the art of replicating paintings, objects, structures and monuments. Its founder, Adam Lowe, shared with us his deep understanding of history, art and culture. He presented to the Foundation Board several projects among which we selected the one dedicated to the Cross River Monoliths, a Nigerian project on the monoliths from Bakor. This project monitored by Factum Arte Foundation aims to document, conserve, and raise awareness about the legacy represented by these monoliths shaped in nearby riverbeds and subsequently sculpted by man. 


These works of art, also known as the Ikom monoliths are some of the most important sculptural works in sub-Saharan Africa. During and after the Biafran civil war, many of these works were stolen and sold to European dealers. They can now be found in museums and private collections around the world. Factum Foundation has recorded 5 monoliths removed from Nigeria since 1969: one at the Metropolitan Museum (New York), another at the Musée du Quai Branly (Paris) and two with a private dealer in Belgium. The fifth has been recorded at the Israel Museum (Jerusalem) in the summer of 2019. 


Along with other monoliths recorded in Cross River State, an exhibition will open at University of Calabar and tour to other sites in the region that cannot exhibit original objects. Before the repatriation of original works, it is first essential to create the context that will ensure long term preservation of this important contribution to Africa’s cultural heritage.


An inventory of the Bakor region’s monoliths is gradually being drawn up. The aim is to preserve them from destruction and raise awareness among the population so that this legacy of the past is respected. 


A total grant of EUR 70’000 from the Carène Foundation will enable an upcoming exhibition in 2022 about the monoliths at the British Museum to travel to the sites in Nigeria and thereafter to be installed as a permanent display in Alok.

The ancient rock art of Nigeria – Opening of the Alok Visitor Centre: Read article



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Fondation Carène
c/o Zufferey Panigas Fiduciaire
Place du Scex 11
1951 Sion