Monday, November 26, 2007

Africa Museum

This being the low season for climbing/mountaineering, at least as far as Belgium is concerned, I am concentrated lately at visiting various climbing gyms around my home sweet home. This w-end, to keep fit, was dedicated to biking and art. After 2hr at the Forêt de Soigny (perfect for my elementary VTT skills), we stopped at the Africa Museum.

This museum, situated in the domaine royale of the king in this same forest, boasts a rich collection of ethnographic african art, coming mainly from the old Congo colony. Yes, Belgium somehow managed to proclaim a colony several times its size - where somehow is not exactly a correct word. Anyway, the museum is now trying to wash off the colonial glow with a corner dedicated to 'colonial history' and attempts at being objective about the wrong-doings of the white man.

The collection itself is impressive, especially the 'art room' with chosen sculprutes and the 'hats' exhibit. Imagine that the Jago perrot has 12 orange feathers in its tail. No wonder these would cost a fortune and signify a chief from a distance.

The sculpture is not less surprising, with such powerful works as this one:

This one looked like an African buddah to me:

And this one like an illustration to Enchi Fumoko's Masks:

This museum reminded me a lot of my recent visit to the Vancouver's UBC anthropology museum, there is so much to learn from these forgotten and destroyed cultures...

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