Inside The MET's New Exhibition Paying Homage To Senegalese Scholar Cheikh Anta Diop
Photo Credit: Instants

Photo Credit: Instants

Inside The MET's New Exhibition Paying Homage To Senegalese Scholar Cheikh Anta Diop

Egypt , New York , United States
Brunno Braga
Brunno Braga Jan 5, 2022

The Metropolitan Museum in New York is paying homage to Senegalese scholar Cheikh Anta Diop with its new exhibition, “The African Origin of Civilization”.

For centuries, Western scholars have worked to dissociate the territory of Egypt from the African continent. Even today, Egypt and Africa are regularly separated from each other in the research departments of universities and museums around the world.

In 1974, Cheikh Anta Diop shocked and challenged historians by asserting the influence of ancient African civilizations in his groundbreaking book The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality’.

The exhibition juxtaposes ancient Egyptian works with masterpieces from West and Central Africa— a first for the MET. Among some notable pairings are a sculpted fragment of an Egyptian queen’s face shown alongside a 16th-century ivory mask from Benin.

According to the MET’s website, there are ‘twenty-one pairings of works from different African cultures and eras, this exhibition provides a rare opportunity to appreciate the extraordinary creativity of the continent across five millennia, revealing unexpected parallels and contrasts. Although there was no contact between their creators, the works share deep and underrecognized histories.’

According to the museum, ‘The African Origin of Civilization’ exhibit will remain on display while The Met’s galleries of Sub-Saharan African Art are closed for the complete renovation of the Michael C. Rockefeller Wing. The re-envisioned wing is expected to reopen in 2024 and will feature three distinct suites of galleries for Sub-Saharan African Art, Ancient American Art, and Oceanic Art.

In December 2021, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the beginning of a $70 m project to reinvigorate its African, ancient American and Oceanic art galleries, housed in the Michael C. Rockefeller wing of the museum. The 40,000 sq. ft galleries, which were opened in 1982, will be reworked to better highlight the collection, and will aim to address the “complex story of cultural development over the last 5,000 years, as well as general issues regarding trade, governance, ideology and relationships”, said Max Hollein, the museum’s director.

The Met’s “The African Origin of Civilization” exhibition happens amidst the controversy over thousands of African artifacts stolen by European nations and displayed in museums across the continent— currently returning to African nations. Belgium, Germany and United Kingdom have already started the return process after decades of fighting from African countries to have their stolen sculptures back.

Sattdown Jamaican Grill

Travel Noire, Food, Cooking, Savor