In April 1966, the ‘First World Festival of Black Arts’ (FESMAN) opened in Dakar. The biggest names of the cultural scenes of Africa and of the Diaspora met there.
Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, the National Ballet of Chad, Aimé Césaire, Wole Soyinka and Michel Leiris: all the leading names of the African and international cultural scene convened in Dakar. The programme included theatre plays, dance, film screenings, exhibitions all launched by a major conference. The event, celebrating its 50th anniversary, was to become one of the key moments in the staging of ‘Négritude’, a literary and political movement developed by President Léopold Sédar Senghor. What emerges is a reflection on the cultural and political issues invested in an event that marked the outlook of Pan-Africanism at the time of the Cold War.
50 years on, the Musée du quay Branly in collaboration with PANAFEST Archive, is hosting an installation dedicated to this unprecedented event in the cultural history of the African continent. Rather than having a documentary approach, the exhibition focuses on the visual representations and evidence produced to capture or exploit this event.
Curated by Sarah Frioux-Salgas, Dominique Malaquais and Cédric Vincent
The PANAFEST Archive project is led by a multidisciplinary team of CNRS and EHESS researchers, supported by the Fondation de France and the University of Paris 1. For the past three years, the team’s research has focused on four festivals which played a pivotal role in the development of foundational cultural and political movements in Africa from the 1950s to the present day: the First Worls Festival of Negro Arts (Dakar 1966), the First Pan-African cultural festival (Algiers 1969), Zaire 74 (Kinshasa 1974) and FESTAC (Second world festival of Negro arts, Lagos 1977). The PANAFEST Archive project is building a historiography of these four festivals and examining the type of archives produced by these events.
Cédric Vincent is an anthropologist and art historian, a researcher at the Anthropology of Writing Laboratory (EHESS). He is the co-directors of PANAFEST Archive programme.
Dominique Malaquais, doctor of philosophy at Columbia University, is an art historian and a political scientist. A researcher with the CNRS’ Institut de mondes africains, she taught in the USA for fifteen years.
Sarah Frioux-Salgas studied African History at the University of Paris 1. Since 2003, she is in charge of the collection documentation and archives in the musee du quai Branly’s media library.