By Charles Ijiomah
In the ancient city of Ibadan there lies an edifice, a monument, and a holy sanctuary all rolled in one architectural masterpiece that would definitely put you in a meditative mood, drawing one ever closer to ones Maker.
The Dominican Abbey
The serene atmosphere is sure to set you on a spiritual high with monks unobstructively going about their activities and everything taking place in an organized manner devoid of the noise, hustle and bustle of the city.
Welcome to The Dominican Abbey in the outskirts of Ibadan, sitting on a very large expanse of land with a school and such other amenities that can sustain a community like this with exotic gardens and lawns trimmed almost to perfection.
These monks with their vows of chastity still managed to create a simple but beautiful environment that one can easily connect to and relax with horticultural designs that can only be described as breathtaking. Imagine a beautifully designed structure with a real fish pond at the base round the building.
These are some of the awesome constructions you will see as you walk around this sanctified premises. This creation is the work of a master painter, artist and architect extraordinaire, the eminent Demas Nwoko obviously inspired by the divine.
Demas Nwoko is well known for his various unique works that spans from acting , painting to structural designs. It is also known that his devotion to the Christian religion is often reflected in his works as most of the motifs of his pictures are taken from the Bible.
Indeed, this teacher who taught theater arts at the university of Ibadan for close to fifteen years, has designed several buildings especially for the catholic church most prominent amongst which is the Dominican Abbey in Ibadan [1966-1970] where he fused traditional roots design with the modern up to date design thereby succeeding in reflecting both dimensions in the building.
An outdoor view of the Dominican Abbey
Burnt tiles were used with a wedge shaped bell tower rising to a point. The abbey and the church beside it is decked with large scale abstract motifs in full color. Like some of his other works, Demas focused on blending western building techniques with African motifs and themes. Although the result is appealing to the senses we must bear in mind that the work and the material used came naturally from the conditions in Nigeria in the 50s and 60s.
So, anytime you want to take a spiritual retreat or you want to see the best of unique architectural designs then maybe a trip to Ibadan would be a good and refreshing venture where smiling Father Justus and the other monks would welcome you with open arms.
The exterior deco of the Dominican Abbey
Interior design of the Dominican Abbey
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