Queen Moremi Statue of Liberty is a 42-foot statue, the tallest in Nigeria, and the 4th tallest in Africa, erected in the ancient town of Ile-Ife, Osun State the Southwestern part of Nigeria.
It is a replica of the Statue of Liberty, a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island, New York, USA.
The statue was dedicated by Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, the 51st Ooni of Ile Ife, on 22nd November 2016 in commemoration of the 12th-century Yoruba queen, Moremi Ajasoro who through her bravery liberated the people of Ife from the torment of the Igbo people also known as (the Forest people).
According to Yoruba folklore, Moremi Ajasoro was married to Oranmiyan, the heir to the king of Ife and son of the founding father of the Yoruba people, Oduduwa. The people of Ife were enslaved and at war with their neighbor tribe, the (Ibo/ Ugbò) Forest people, who were very powerful and the people of Ife found it difficult to repel them. This is because the Ugbo people who often appeared as masquerades completely covered in raffia leaves were seen as spirits by the people of Ife. Seeking to help her people,
Moremi reached out to the Spirit of the river Esimirin asking for help to learn the power of the Forest people in return for a sacrifice she will make.
She deliberately went to the front line of the war to get captured. Once she did, she used her talent and beauty to attract the king of the Forest people who made her his queen. Earning the king’s trust and his people, she discovered their war tactics, escaped to Ile-Ife, and revealed to the Yoruba army the intelligence she collected. With that information, the Yoruba army was able to defeat the Forest people. Fulfilling her promise, she returned to the river Esimirin to learn the Spirit demanded her to scarify her son.
Made of bronze, Queen Moremi Statue of Liberty portrays a graceful and dignified pose of Queen Moremi, with her head held high and her arms outstretched. She is adorned with traditional Yoruba clothing and jewelry, and her face bears a serene expression that belies her inner strength and determination.
The base of the statue features intricate carvings and reliefs that tell the story of Queen Moremi and the Ife people.
The statue is also a celebration of African culture and heritage. The reliefs depict scenes from ancient Yoruba life, including traditional dance, music, and religious rituals.
The Queen Moremi Statue of Liberty is more than just a work of art; it is a powerful symbol of African identity and pride. It stands as a testament to the bravery and heroism of Queen Moremi and all the women who have fought for their people throughout African history.
It is also representation of the Yoruba culture and heritage. It serves as a reminder to the younger generation of the importance of preserving and celebrating their traditions and values.
The Queen Moremi Statue of Liberty has become a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over the world. It has also become a source of pride for the people of Ile-Ife and Nigeria as a whole. The statue has been recognized by various organizations and has won several awards, including the Most Innovative Artwork Award at the African Diaspora World Tourism Awards in 2018.
Annually, the people of Ile-Ife come together to celebrate the Moremi (Edi) festival in honour of the sacrificial life of Queen Moremi Ajasoro.