Africa: Inside the Black Civilization Museum in Senegal


It’s more than half a century after the idea was first laid on the table by Leopold Senghor-the first president of Senegal, the Black Civilization Museum is now a reality.

The 150,000 square-foot circular structure, resembles the traditional houses of Senegal’s Casamance region. It’s located at the heart of Dakar, Senegal’s capital, the fulfillment of Senghor’s hopes for a grand museum for global black art. The Sprawling museum celebrates African black art from across the globe. The idea is believed to have been conceived by Senghor, leading pan-African thinker, in 1966 during the first festival of Negro Arts. The first step to the reality of this idea wasn’t taken until 2003.

The main reason behind the amazing museum is to document and celebrate artifacts that black Civilization offered from a global perspective. Yes, a global perspective! The first temporary exhibitions at the museum featured artworks from Cuba and Haiti.

Its galleries have more to offer, a range of themes including African Now, Contemporary African art from artist around the continent, Cradle of Humankind as well as a bid to human origin in Africa. All these are in line with scientific findings evidently shown by the early age stone tools. Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Sahara human trade isn’t left behind. The museum houses The Caravan and Caravel to focus on the trades. The museum has a variety of exhibitions ranging across wood carvings, sculptures, Reuters photos, textiles, statues.

There is a possibility that the empty space left in the medium will one day be filled with African artifacts held in Europe instructions. Even though the Europeans claim that some of the artifacts were gifted to them by the African forefathers after French president Emmanuel Macron received a landmark report- written by Savoy and Senegalese writer Felwine Sarr. The report recommended that they move forward with the plan to repatriate African artworks looted during the colonial era. Senegal was among the first countries to make a move to claim the looted artifacts.

Inside the black civilization museum lies a mirror for that African people can look and see their forefathers lived.


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