PICS: Black heritage museum, ‘crucible of creativity’, opens in Dakar

Black heritage museum, 'crucible of creativity', opens in Dakar Credit- Vietnam

A museum showcasing black heritage, from the dawn of time to modern era has opened in the capital of Senegal, Dakar,

The collection, includes megaliths dating back more than 1,700 years ago alongside contemporary art, are honouring the past and look to the future.

The Museum of Black Civilisations will hopefully “dialogue of cultures” and offer a “new view of Africa and its diaspora, which recognises our part in the great human adventure,” Senegalese President Macky Sall said as he opened the museum.

“Today rekindles in us the precursors of pan-Africanism and African identity,” Sall said after cutting the symbolic ribbon at the ceremony.

 

A man walks past a piece of art exhibited in the new museum of black civilisations, in Dakar, on December 6, 2018, during the opening ceremony and inauguration. Picture: AFP 

Guests included Chinese Culture Minister Luo Shugang, his country funded the 30 million euros ($34 million) project. The building is 14,000 square metres (150,000 square feet), it houses 18,000 pieces, according to museum director Hamady Bocoum.

Bocoum and the museum’s lead scientist Ibrahima Thioub said the collection, which includes megaliths dating back more than 1,700 years ago, including contemporary art, would both honour the past and look to the future.

It should not be “a place of nostalgia but a crucible of creativity, a factory of self-esteem,” said Thioub, rector of Dakar’s Cheikh-Anta-Diop University.

Pieces of art are exhibited in the new museum of black civilisations, in Dakar, on December 6, 2018, during the opening ceremony and inauguration. Picture: SEYLLOU / AFP

The museum was a dream of Senegal’s first president Leopold Sedar Senghor, among the drivers of the Negritude literary movement born in the 1960s.

Senghor was also a poet, he was Senegal’s president from 1960 to 1980, spoke of it at the first World Festival of BlackArts, held in Dakar in 1966.

Pieces of art are exhibited in the new museum of black civilisations, in Dakar, on December 6, 2018, during the opening ceremony and inauguration. Picture: SEYLLOU / AFP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“We are in the continuity of history,” Sall said Thursday. “Through the ages, Africa invented, fashioned and transformed, thus constantly participating in the flow of innovations. Our duty is to remain vigilant sentinels of the heritage of the ancients.”

The museum is among several new museums starting in Africa that are listening to the growing demands for the restitution of artworks taken out of Africa during colonization.

In November, France announced it would return 26 cultural artefacts to Benin. It was a first gesture acting on the findings of a study commissioned by President Emmanuel Macron on repatriating African treasures held by French museums.

A person dressed with a typical mask and costume welcomes guests during the opening ceremony and inauguration of the new museum of black civilisations, in Dakar, on December 6, 2018. Picture: SEYLLOU / AFP

After the French decision, Senegal called for the restitution of some 10,000 pieces of Senegalese art from France, Ivory Coast followed suit the next day, calling for the return of approximately 100 art works.

Photo credit- Vietnam

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