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A get away to the Quai Branly: museum of arts and African, Asian, Oceanian and American civilizations.

The weather is beautiful. Today, I've decided to take a trip to the Eiffel Tower, on the quays and wanted to take the opportunity to visit, finally, the Quai Branly, the museum of arts and African, Asian, Oceanian and American civilizations.

Located in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, along the quays of the Seine, at the foot of The Eiffel Tower, the Quai Branly museum is divided into several pavilions : Africa, Asia, Oceania, America.

The idea came from the president Jacques Chirac, an admirer of primitive art. Despite many controversies at the time, he wanted to, in a single location, gather art from other continents.

The architect has made the project concrete when he built from 2002 to 2006 the museum on a surface area of 40,600 m2 including 12 000 m2 of exhibition.

Far from the original polemics, the museum Quai Branly, is now one of the most visited place in France and in the whole world with more than 1 200 000 visitors in 2018.

So African arts, Asian ones, Oceanian ones, American ones took their place in this primitive art museum which contains now 4 continents over the past 10 years.

To reach the exhibition area, you cross a pleasant green garden: you'd never think you were in the heart of Paris!

Alongside there are restaurants, a bookshop-boutique, a media library, a reading room, a theater and a cinema: it's not just a museum, but a modern space dedicated to culture and knowledge.

A highlight for Paris lovers: access to the terrace, which offers a panoramic view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower!

The river: to the exhibitions spaces

The museum focuses on other civilizations. The heritage and art of other civilizations have received little attention in the West, yet have fascinated many artists, especially in the 20th century.

Passing through "the river", a Charles Sandison installation of contemporaneous art. His works take us deep into a river of virtual worlds : we find, through its various pavilions, the civilization of several continents.

Yes, the world is a whole, and not everything is concentrated in the West: knowledge and art belong to all mankind!

I've noticed that civilizations were different but also had similarities.

A central point is the importance of the place of culture in societies. Everyday objects are also objects of worship, tradition and art.

Visiting the Aztecs,in some respects, it's like being in Africa, with similarities in certain rites and objects of worship.

Of course, I could not remain insensitive to the African pavilion composed of 1000 various pieces of South Africa passing through Central Africa, Congo, Nigeria...

From Diola masks to Kaolack megaliths, from Zulu spears to Tuareg, a nomadic ethnic group present in West and North Africa, and their magnificent jewelry and furniture, we travel from one continent to another, as the pavilions are interconnected. It's a place where you can stroll for hours!

In Africa, art does not have as a main goal to fabric something beautiful to look at: those creations are used for ceremonies, worships, and even daily...which doesn't prevent them from being authentic masterpieces.

The quality of hand-made quality, the meticulousness, the objects esthetic, fascinated me. Tuareg furniture, doors and half-man half-lion royal statues from Benin, Fang statues from Gabon, Dogon art from Mali and Ethiopian Christian frescoes.

The fabrics and antique outfits on display are magnificent!

The fabrics and antique outfits on display are magnificent !

Art cannot be resumed in statues or masks so prized by the Occident, but the fabrics and antique outfits should also be praised and highlighted...

A little pinch in the heart has crossed me. Seeing all those works in Europe, the epicentre of colonial exploitation , as a human being and what is more African, it calls! ! !

The restitution of works, actuality requires

History and the actuality now on the artworks from Africa restitution catches up with me while at Quai Branly, more than 70,000 African pieces have been recorded.

As an art-lover and a realist one, I agree with the fact those works should be reinstated but it need support and suppervision. For now, in Africa states do not put many resources in culture and art.

Yes, I prefer to admire works in a place where I know they take good care of, where they are protected from degradation, safe, lives up to their values.

Here, they attract a lot of visitors and everyone can enjoy them.

Restitution : yes, but with one condition : have African « Quai Branly »!

Means first, partnerships then, training, education and awareness of the population of art and the development of tourism should allow to see his works on the Continent.

Benin’s efforts to welcome its jewels may bear fruit. I would return to the new Museum of Black Civilizations in Dakar which can also mark a turning point if continuous and rigorous management is done.

But, in the meantime, do not hesitate to admire these magnificent masterpieces at Quai Branly if you are in Paris. It is a real pleasure to discover, beyond the works, a part of history for all humanity!


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