The Bronx was not known for the arts for several decades. However, this has been changing in the past years, and since several years the wonderful Bronx Museum of the Arts on the Grand Concourse has been the symbol of this renaissance.
On March 26, the Museum hosted an event to launch a new website, Bronx200, which showcases 200 Bronx-based artists. The Bronx is experiencing a revival, with both native Bronx artists and those who have been moving in and establishing studios. John “Crash” Matos, who founded the Wall Works New York gallery in Mott Haven, was the guest speaker at the event.
The Museum building is very contemporary and easy to navigate, a great place to visit at any time.
Paris boasts a modern museum whose core permanent exhibitions are of traditional art in Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The Musée du Quai Branly, located close to the Eiffel Tower, is a modern and “green” structure opened to the public in 2006.
Quai Branly Museum street view
Entering the museum is in itself an adventure–first through outdoor winding paths, in the garden, and then an interior winding path, in itself a work of art called the “River” showing words projected in the ground, moving like water.
It’s quite a trip to reach the top, where the entrance to the permanent exhibits is, as well as to the current exhibition, “The Art of Hair.”
Below are a few photos of the Africa section. As usual in all African traditional art exhibits, there are many pieces from the Grassland Bamiléké region’s prolific artists. However, to my great surprise, there was one piece, not just from Douala, but specifically from Deido, my husband’s home neighborhood! (Douala used to be 3 villages: Bonanjo, Akwa, and Deido.) Duala art is rarely shown in museums, and I don’t know whether there are many pieces around the world. In this case, a dugout bow was on display. Dualas were mainly fishermen and their boats played an important role in their lives; races were one of the men’s main competitive sports (along with wrestling) and the dugout bows were sculpted.
(bottom) Bow of a dugout from the “Deido School of Art” (Cameroon)
Danhomé royal seat
Figurines from South Cameroon and Gabon
Colorful Téké-Tsayi pieces (Gabon-Congo)
The Museum is a little tricky to navigate with its labyrinthine style of exhibitis. What I would have liked to see as additions would be modern artists from these same regions.
For all those interested in traditional (I don’t especially care for the term “indigenous”–do we say indigenous art from France?) art from Africa, it is still really worth visiting this museum.
Address: 37 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris; subway: Alma-Marceau
This post was originally published on the blog Away From Africa on Oct. 29, 2012