Nigerian artist, Osaze Amadasun, has designed ‘Bini Playing Cards’, a game aimed at promoting and preserving the Benin culture.
Amadasun is popularly known for his infusion of folklore in arts and African re-imagination of popular artworks including his illustrations of music legend, Fela and other popular icons.
The ‘Bini Playing Cards’, which are patterned after the standard French cards, were designed with popular Benin bronze-head figures and commemorative stories that players can learn from.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday, Amadasun said that he was inspired to make the cards while working on an Oba Esigie theme park (Oba Esigie was a king who ruled the Benin kingdom in the 16th century).
He said, “While making research for my theme park, the idea hit me and I thought to myself – it would be really cool if there was a Benin themed playing card deck out there and the rest is history.
“The Bini Playing Cards were inspired by the ancient kingdom of Benin and its classical works of art. I got the idea to make the cards back in 2015.
“I worked on the design between 2015 – 2018. I know it may seem like a really long time, sometimes these things take longer than we think to follow through from the concept stage to final production,” he said.
Amadasun told NNN that he chose to retain the play method of the standard French cards because he did not want to deviate too far from the norm.
Speaking on the design, he said, “The front design of the Tuck case is inspired by Uhumwelao (commemorative head) used to honour one’s predecessor.
“Other aspects of the design reference motifs and iconography from 16th century Benin artworks,” he said.
According to him, a majority of his work focus on Benin mythology because he does not feel there are enough images “asides from the Benin bronzes, that are centered around the Benin kingdom.”