Hamady Bocoum – Director of the Museum of Black Civilisations
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DC Sister City - Dakar, Senegal
It is directed by Hamady Bocoum, an archaeologist and researcher at University Cheikh-Anta-Diop.
The museum was conceived with the goal of highlighting “Africa’s contribution to the world’s cultural and scientific patrimony.” According to Bocoum, it is particularly important to remember that “ironworking was discovered in Africa 2500 years before Christ.”
The museum was on the list of “ultramodern museums” compiled by Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy in their Rapport sur la restitution du patrimoine culturel africain. Vers une nouvelle éthique relationnelle (en: The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage: Toward a New Relational Ethics) submitted in November 2018 to the president of France.
Located opposite the Grand National Theatre, the four-storey structure is officially called the Museum of Black Civilisations, or MCN (from its official French name, Musée des Civilisations Noires).
The museum, which was inaugurated by Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, earlier this month, is the culmination of a decades-old mission by politicians to build a museum to honor black achievement. That it took so long is part of Dakar’s charm: this is a city slowly in a hurry.
History is central to the content of MCN. Take the dominant indigo tones of Malian artist Abdoulaye Konaté’s labour-intensive draperies, currently on view alongside works by contemporary and long-forgotten artists. The indigo colors draw on a millennium-old Malian history of dyeing and fabric know-how.