Paris' Quai Branly Museum celebrates "Présence Africaine" with films


“Présence Africaine” was an important journal and media tool that allowed black intellectuals and writers to claim their cultural and historic identities that the colonial context denied or “exoticized”. This exhibition presents a number of works and archival documents, several films, photographs and objects.

Audio and audiovisual recordings including some specially produced for the exhibition occupy an important part of the scene: materials from INA, Pathe and a Russian filmmaker enable to watch some Black Artist and Writers Congresses, one held in 1956 in La Sorbonne and another one in 1959 in Roma.

Other period documents, citations, excerpts of poems and filmed interviews specially produced for this exhibition punctuate the visit.

Films include:

-"Un sang d'encre", from Jacques Goldstein and Blaise N'Djehoya (1997, 52 min)

-"Aimé Césaire, un nègre fondamental" from Laurent Hasse and Laurent Chevalier, (2007, 56 min)

-"Tchicaya, la petite feuille qui chante son pays", from Léandre-Alain Baker (2001, 52 min)

-"Lumières noires", documentary from Bob Swaim, 52 min, Production Entractes, 2006.

-"Paulette Nardal, la fierté d’être négresse", documentary, 52 mn, 2004, Production La Lanterne-Antilles.

with opportunities to meet up with some of the film makers.

The event focuses on showing the emergence and influence of a movement, of a forum for thought and vindications of the black world at a time when a major part of the west had a deformed and even deprecatory vision of it.

It will end in 2010 coinciding with the journal's founder century.

After the Tarzan exhibition held a few months back, this new exhibition recounts the creation and first 20 years of existence of this luminary literary and cultural journal founded by the Senegalese intellectual Alioune Diop in 1947, and that became a publishing house in 1949.

The exhibition Curator, Sarah Frioux-Salgas has studied African history in the 18 century."Présence Africaine, A forum, a movement, a network", from 10/11/09 - 31/01/10 at the East Mezzanine of the Quai Branly Museum, Paris, France.

At the same time, the museum also presents a beautiful exhibition named "Artists of Abomey".

Through audio materials, 82 objects and 8 historical graphic documents, "Artists of Abomey: Dialogue on an African Kingdom" provides the chance to discover these dynasties of artists who, while enjoying great privilege, were constrained by their allegiance to the king.

From 1600 to 1894, Abomey was the showcase of the Dahomey kingdom, located in the current-day Republic of Benin. An extraordinary court art developed, with artists whose genius, talent, and inspiration served the king's glory above all else.

Each type of object was created by an artist's family who passed down their skills from father to son. Thanks to important research on location by exhibition commissioner Gaëlle Beaujean, Abomey Museum curator Léonard Ahonon, and art historian Joseph Adandé, it is now possible to link artists and artist families to each type of object displayed, a rare accomplishment in African art. and