traditional writing was widespread in Nigeria, but limited to enlightened initiates. A lot of what you think is art is really a detailed form of communication to the "educated."
Get in touch with Dr. Izevbigie. That man's knowledge will enrich your life no end, he is very approachable as well. I've not been in contact with him for donkey years now, but write to him stating your interest.
His from the Eweka line, its guaranteed, he'll make your jaw drop (and with proof too).
I assume you're referring to this Dr. Izevbigie (there is another Dr. Izevbigie who's a biology prof):
"DR. (CHIEF) OMOKARO IZEVBIGIE
CONTACT ADDRESS: Dept. of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin, Benin City
PHONE: 052-259597 (Land Line); 0803 373 7485 (GSM)
EDUCATION (Degree, Concentration, Institution with Date)
1971-1978 Ph.D. Art History (Traditional African Art) University of Washington, Seattle
1972 M.A.T. (Master of Arts in Teaching) Art Education, University of Washington,
1966-1970 B.A. (Hons) Fine Arts - Amadu Bello University, Zaria
1963-1964 T.C. II Benin/Delta Teachers Training College, Benin City
1959-1960 T.C. III Provisional Teachers Training College, Agbede
1979-present Art History Lecturer and Coordinator of Art History Programs,
University of Benin, Benin City
1999-2003 Civil Commissioner, Edo State Government
1973-1978 Instructor, Ethnic Studies, Shoreline Community College, Seattle
1973-1978 Interdiscip. Service Coordinator, Mt. Baker Youth Service Program, Seattle
1971-1973 Teaching Assistant, University of Washington, Seattle (Art History)
1970 Instructor (Art), Anglican Women Teachers College, Benin City
Member, African Studies Association (U.S.A.)
Member, Nigerian Society for Education through Art (NSEA)
Member, National Art Education Society of America (NAEA)
Member, The Kiwanis Club International, U.S.A.
Fellow, Institute of Corporate Executives of Nigeria (FICEM)
Fellow, Chartered Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (FCIM)
Fellow, Society of Nigerian Artists (FSNA) and current Chairman, Edo State Chapter
HONORS AND AWARDS
2000 Certificate of Merit: Best Commissioner, Edo State, 2000, from Centre for International Legal Cooperation and Democratic Development in Nigeria.
2001 Merit and Nobel Peace Awards, from Afr. Youth Missionary International Assoc.
1999 Appointed and sworn in as Chief Ihama of Ugbeka by the Enogie of Evbohighae, Orhionmwon Local Government Area.
DISSERTATION/THESES - UNPUBLISHED
1978 Olokun - a focal symbol of Religion and Art in Benin.
Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington, Seattle
1972 Benin Bronze Casting Techniques. M.A.T. Project
1970 Bini Mud Sculpture, B.A. Thesis
JURIED PUBLICATIONS (Also ARTICLES ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION)
forthcoming "The Masking Traditions of Kwakiutl and Benin," KIABARA - a Journal for the Humanities, University of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt, Vol. 6, No. 2.
2000 “Native African Arts and Culture in the New World: A case study of African Retiontins in the United States of America” in African Studies Monographs, Vol.21, No.2., Centre for African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Japan, pp. 45-54.
1999-2000 “Art as the Bedrock of Social and Technological Development: A Case of Improving the Quality of Art Lessons in Schools and Colleges” in Benin Journal of Educational Studies, Vols. 12&13, No.1&2, Institute of Education, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, ppl 56-63.
1995 “Benin Traditional Religion” in Critical Perspectives on Father Kevin Carrol, Society of African Missions, Ibadan. (Chapter 20).
1995 “Origin of Olokun Worship in Benin” inCritical Perspectives on Father Kevin Carrol, Society of African Missions, Ibadan. (Chapter 22).
1995 "Description of Ekaladerhan Olokun Temple, Ughoton"(Appendix 4) in D.N. Oronsaye,The History of the Ancient Benin Kingdom & Empire, Jeromelaihon, Lagos, pp. 82-101
1988 "Olokun & Leadership in Traditional Benin," Nigeria Magazine, Federal Department of Culture, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, May.
1987 "Mbari and Olokun Compared," Nigeria Magazine, Federal Department of Culture, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, Vol. 55, No.4, Oct-Dec, pp.32-36.
1987 "Sources of Mud Sculpture in Southern Nigeria," Ivie Magazine, Bendel Arts Council, Benin City, 5th Edition.
OTHER PROFESSIONAL WORK (SELECTED)
1997 Organized exhibition to commemorate the British Invasion of Benin of 1897, Benin City
1991 "Society through the Eyes of the Artists," Society of Nigerian Artists, Bendel State Chapter. Exhibited four works and authored catalogue's introduction.
1985 Assisted Dr. F. Kaplan, visiting Fulbright Scholar from NYU to organize and identify the art exhibits entitled Ärt of the Royal Court of Benin, Benin Museum, Benin City.
1975 Tie and Dye in Nigeria, Lectures-Workshop-Exhibition, Evergreen State College, Olympia (WA)
1974 Benin Bronze Casting in Photographs, Shoreline Community College, Seattle (WA)
1971 One-man art exhibition of bronze works cast using the ancient techniques of bronze-casting in Benin plus demonstration. Gallery Nimba, Seattle.
PLACE OF BIRTH: Evbohighae, Orhionmwon Local Government Area, Edo State
STATE OF ORIGIN: Edo State
HOME TOWN: Evbohighae
MARITIAL STATUS: Married with Children"
Thanks for the info, but I'm not in Nigeria right now, so I couldn't approach him. Do you know his email?
Has he or anybody else published any articles or books on aro-oko writing systems or Olokun symbols as writing?