L’Afrique des Routes / African Routes

Museé du Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Paris, France
31 Jan 2017 - 12 Nov 2017

L’Afrique des Routes / African Routes

Cosmographia, Claude Ptolémée (90-168) © Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, département des Manuscrits

The cradle of humanity and supplier of labour power, gold and raw materials for other continents for thousands of years, Africa has a history that is part of an international dynamic. This exhibition presents a panorama of a continent at the crossroads of different worlds, a counter-current to received ideas.

Africa, a continent without a History? Although the preconceptions persist, the facts themselves are undeniable: Africans have never lived in isolation. Although ignored for a long time, exchanges within Africa, and outside of its borders, began thousands of years ago, well before independence, colonisation and the arrival of the first Portuguese ships at the end of the 15th century. This is demonstrated in the sculptures, gold and ivory pieces, paintings and other artworks presented in the African Routes exhibition.

This exhibition evokes the routes by river, land and sea that contributed to the movement and contact of men, materials and artworks, from the fifth millennium BC to the present day. Ranging from the chariots engraved in caves in Oued Djerat in the Sahara to the Chinese porcelain of Madagascar, from the Candomblé cults and rituals of South America to the contemporary mixed art of the Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, it presents a portrait of a continent at the centre of world history.