Tag Archives: artefacts

Kendell Geers ventures African mask philosophy

South African conceptual artist Kendell Geers presents African masks in unconventional way to evoke re-evaluation of cultural heritage of the continent, shifting from outdated perception of  “fetish” to artefact, and further to reading the profound philosophical meaning of the ritual objects.

Concluding the exhibition IncarNations (BOZAR, Brussels)  debates took place on contemporary vision of African cultural heritage, and imminent need to shift away from the Colonial era patterns of exoticism to genuine understanding of meaning of African culture. Passionate proponent of African art,  Kendell Geers calls for abandoning Eurocentric system of assessment of cultural heritage, and regarding historic artefacts with African eyes.

Kendell Geers presentations of African masterpieces stretches beyond Africa, pointing to their universal spiritual strength, fearlessly confronting the most sensitive issues of Colonial past, and problems of the present dialogues between East, West and Africa to ensure transformations leading to engagements, empowering Africans, and reconstructing their rich cultural heritage.

The artist reflects upon dramatic history of colonisation of Africa, suggesting “negative” overpowers “positive” in synergy of two continents, until Europeans keep their prejudices and fantasies, and desires rooted in the bygone era.

 

The exhibition IncarNations created by the artist Kendell Geers in co-operation with the Congolese art collector Sindika Dokolo has challenged a traditional outlook on African culture, proposing Afrocentric perspective. It took place in Brussels Art Centre BOZAR from 

 

 

Museum Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac free visit

Paris museum Quai Branly-Jacques Chirac will be “free for ten days” to pay tribute to the former head of state at the origin of its creation, said it director, Stéphane Martin.

*The Museum will be free for ten days, (…) the time that people who want to pay tribute to the President can visit,” said Stéphane Martin on Europe 1 after the death of Jacques Chirac . Since, the establishment has been offering a temporary exhibition dedicated to acquisitions made since 1998, when the museum’s public establishment was created, which was opened in 2006.

This exhibition, which began two days before the death of Jacques Chirac,is really his collection, the collection that began in 1998 when he launched the museum Quai Branly,” said Stéphane Martin. This retraces “what we did for 20 years thanks to him in terms of enriching the collections”. “The images of the president are everywhere in the museum, the flags are at half-mast, it’s a very emotional moment for the teams,” said Stéphane Martin, adding that “a guestbook is available to visitors.

 

 

Mukanda masks of Belgium African Museum

Mukanda schools masks create a mysterious setting presenting an image of an ancient ritual  of boys passing to manhood. The re-opened African Museum, Belgium, exposes a collection of artifacts from different tribes*, accompanied by explanations of the video hosts to guide a visitor into a universe of schooling by the spirits of masked deceased ancestors Makishiwho revisit the world of living to protect the young boys, and the entire village during the period of Mukanda school session.

The opening of school is a memorable moment of a night festivity, with plenty of food and Katasu beverage to frame the entrance to the first rituals on next morning: Nganga Mukanda or a ‘natural healer‘ will rub a clay into boys bodies to prepare them for a circumcision at Kateteveje ‘death place‘. The drums beat in frenzy to overwhelm the screams of the boys…

Curator and scientist Hein Vanhee devoted to the history of peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo at Africa Museum, and at the University of Gent Centre for Bantu Studies shares his knowledge of the mask collection (Video above).
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Image: above ‘The Rotunda‘ of African Museum, Belgium.

AMENDMENTS:

Tribes” is a term which we do not longer use, because it has colonial connotations and describes inaccurately the peoples about whom the exhibitions are. We prefer to speak of “peoples” in general of when referring to more local contexts we use “communities.Hein Vanhee.

Belgium Africa Museum opening

After five years of €66 million large-scale renovation Belgium Royal Museum of Central Africa opens its door on December 9th, under a new name, and with a new concept: it closes the chapter of the Colonial Palace of the epoch of King Leopold II, and moves on to Africa’s present and future.

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“…Our new permanent exhibition aims to depict the image of modern Africa, looking into the future, without overlooking the shared common past” said Guido Gryseels, the Museum Director, whose ambition is to provide a platform for debate, the meeting space, the exhibition place, the scientific laboratory, and the documentation center. (Image below: Guido Gryseels interviewed).

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We hope to become a real meeting place and centre for dialogue for people who have keen interest in Africa”, Mr. Gryseels added.

At present the Museum works together with diasporas, and builds partnerships with African museums in Rwanda, the Musée des Civilisations noires in Senegal, the national Museum of Congo, and the National Museum of Lubumbashi. There are expectations to have exchanges with a new museum in Kinshasa,  which will open the its doors in the end of 2019. (Image below: the Rotunda, African Museum, Belgium).

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The Museum has experienced a dramatic cultural evolution from Colonial past to a modern vibrant multicultural universe, introducing voices and opinions of Africans in various forms along the exhibitions, telling their own narratives. Furthermore, the new type of engagement is foreseen for recruitment of staff from African origin to ensure the diversity of employees.

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However the Director underlines, that the current state of the establishment under his leadership is “work in process“, a new beginning, a rebirth of a fascinating space, an ‘African island‘ in the middle of Belgium: 120 000 ethnographic artifacts, 10 000 animals, 8 000 music instruments, three kilometers of archive, 205 hectare site, with only one percent of treasures at display!

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African Museum, Tervuren, Belgium

http://www.africamuseum.be

 

‘Maqdala 1868’ exhibition in London

The UK’s Victoria and Albert Museum has offered to return on loan to Ethiopia treasures seized by British troops 150 years ago, including an ornate crown, a royal wedding dress and a gold chalice.

The overture came as some of the objects are display until June 2019 at the museum in London to mark the anniversary of the Maqdala battle in 1868.

Historians describe 15 elephants and 200 mules were needed to transport all the looted artefacts from Maqdala the capital of Emperor Tewodoros I.

“On 13 April 1868, the fortress of Emperor Tewodros II at Maqdala was besieged by British troops, – says the communiqué of Victoria & Albert Museum, announcing the display of the precious objects. “150 years later, to mark the anniversary of this significant and controversial period in Ethiopian and British history, this display presents a selection of Ethiopian objects and explores their connections to the so-called Abyssinia Campaign. The display highlights the craftsmanship and beauty of the Maqdala treasures within the context of the collection’s complex history.”

Ethiopia expo