“It was a great pleasure for me to visit the Museum of African Art in Belgrade. So many forms of sheer beauty to be contemplated, so many signs to be comprehended, so many trails and tracks to follow through the Dogon country, the Ashanti lands, the Bambara territories – to mention only a few of the areas represented in this generous display. I remember being particularly attracted by certain bird-figures characteristic of the Ivory Coast’s Senufo culture. All those forms, all those signs, all those traces... Long may it live – a sense of the profundity of world culture! And maybe, thanks to institutions such as this one, we can go, step by step, towards a sense of a multi-polar, variedly localized world culture.”
Kenneth White, poet and writer, professor of 20th century poetics at the Paris Sorbonne,
founder of the International Institute of Geopoetics
From the introductory word to the catalogue: “Magic, Tradition and the Contemporary“,
Museum of African Art, 1997.
The Museum of African Art is the first and only museum in the region entirely dedicated to the cultures and arts of the African continent. According to specialists in the field, objects in the Belgrade Museum form a representative collection of African art.
The Permanent Display is based on significant examples of, primarily West African art and includes selected objects from the collection formed by the founders of the Museum – Veda Zagorac and dr Zdravko Pečar. Besides the Permanent Display, through Temporary Exhibitions of traditional African artefacts, the Museum also conducts its research on, and presents through different topical analyses, other cultural areas of Africa: Ethiopia, the Maghreb, Central and South Africa. The possibility for curators to expand their field of research outside the principal collections is in part directly linked to the collaboration which has over the years developed with local and international collectors and benefactors.
An important aspect of Museum work is publishing, which is based on the regular publication of exhibition catalogues, monographs, texts and articles by African Studies experts and professionals, as well as the “AFRIKA: Studies in Art and Culture” journal.
Another field of work for the Museum are visiting exhibitions: both hosting and travelling outside the MAA space into new display spaces and among “new” museum visitors present a challenge and a reason to use every possible chance to organise exhibitions and programs in the country and abroad.
Besides exhibitions, the presentation of the cultural heritage of Africa is achieved at the Museum through popular programs such as the Afro Festival, AFRAM and Coloured World which, through lectures, film screenings, art and music workshops, thematic evenings and concerts – expose the richness of African creativity.
For forty years this institution has made a significant contribution to promoting and fostering cultural relations and encouraging the principles of multiculturalism and cultural diversity. Endorsing the importance of African and non-European cultural and artistic heritage in general is the foundation upon which the overall work of the Museum of African Art in Belgrade is based.