December 6th marked an important day for Senegal and the African diaspora, as the Musée Civilisations Noires ( Museum of Black Civilization or MCN) opened to the world with sacred African artifacts and world-class Black art. Led by Professor Hamady Bocoum, MCN is the culmination of a proposal by Black activist and intellectual Lamine Senghor in 1962 to provide a home for artifacts and artwork. It was during the early 1960s to early 1970s that Black liberation thinking created the desire for unity that stretched from the urban center of the United States to the continent of Africa. These ideas resulted in everything from art celebrations to University departments that focused on Black people from a cosmopolitan view.
Despite the length of time, it took for this museum to be built; the government sought time to assemble a dynamic team and educate staff for the completion of this project. Curators, conservators, directors and graphic artists came together to make the museum successful. During the summer of 2018, staff worked diligently to curate exhibits, prepare and care for prized artifacts for a successful opening. After careful planning, Musée Cvilisations Noires ( Museum of Black Civilization) opened with international dignitaries from Estonia to the United States.
The building of MCN is a significant accomplishment for the African Diaspora. A world-class museum that focusses on Black people from a global perspective provides a platform of unification and a narrative of family we need during a time where nationalism often calls for mistreatment of Black people. According to Professor Babacar M”Bow ” This space decolonizes the museum. MCN presents the museum of now, a museum of Liberation.” The grand opening featured the first and oldest hominids, all from the continent of Africa with the oldest ever found in the world from Chad. Also, a variety of masks, ritual art, the history of Islam in Senegal, and some of the best in African diaspora art such as Eduard Duval Carie, Godfried Donkor, Olanrewaju Tejuoso and Laeila Adjovi. While not open to the public yet, the museum is still preparing for tours from local and international guests.
Read more about the museum here.
Watch the grand opening in its entirety below: