dialogue on an African Kingdom
Tuesday 10 November 2009 to Sunday, January 31, 2010
Commission: Gaëlle Beaujean, head of collections Africa Branly
with the collaboration of Joseph Adande, art historian at the University of Abomey and Ahonon Leonard, manager and curator of the site of the royal palaces of Abomey
This exhibition presents 82 works through graphics and 8 elders, artists of the kingdom of Dahomey (1600-1894), in present-day Benin.
Its purpose is to present their works but also to question their role and status within society danhoméenne, and more specifically in the capital Abomey. Indeed, the artists chosen by the king, enjoyed great privileges while being constrained by their allegiance. The exhibition will explore their creations through the different functions of art in Abomey.
It is also to involve artists and families of artists in each type of objects presented. This new approach is the result of a research conducted by the research team, which resulted in an award-sometimes very finely certain objects.
The exhibition will last a double look at the works presented: the country of origin (through the participation of two scientists from Benin) and the French commissioner.
route of exposure
After an introductory space with an old map and a genealogy of the kings of Abomey, the exhibition presents the status and role of the artist in society danhoméenne five sequences.
memory for names
This sequence presents the sculptures of six artists identified namely, relatively rare in African art. Y will present a few masterpieces of the art of Abomey, including the statue of the god Gou Akati Ekplékendo, or statues of kings and Glélé Béhanzin of Sossa Dede
the court artist, Master - used
Will be discussed in this sequence to explain the place of artists: How do you become? What are the benefits of the Master, the indices of enslavement?
Artists created for the king regalia and narrate his exploits. This sequence will bring together the royal emblems and works bearing the official story.
It will include a recade precious ivory, two thrones marking the king's power so impressive.
Information in the field have identified the use and locations of certain works in the palace. The Kings had exotic objects, typologies such as sculptures ibeji (Yoruba statuettes of twins).
Under the term "treasure Behanzin" gathered some of the documents seized by the French officers. Part of this "treasure" constitutes almost all of this sequence.
the distinction in the arts
The artists also accounted for dignitaries and soldiers, by the Amazons. Possession of works from the royal workshops was a privilege.
Four categories of people were so honored:
* Premier or migan: very close to the king, he was responsible to execute prisoners during the annual custom designed to communicate with royal ancestors
* The Amazons, women soldiers of Dahomey
* The priest Hêviosso (god of thunder)
* Diviners for which artists were making equipment geomancy
This sequence shows including two knives and held that the Minister concerned for beheadings, and the priest of the precious recade Hêviosso.
on the walls of the Palace
Abomey artists are finally intervened on walls, doors, pillars of the royal palaces. The exhibition of bas-reliefs and wooden doors from the palace.
Next, acrylics on canvas by artist Cyprien Tokoudagba will address the reality of contemporary art in Abomey, alive and inspired works of art workshops royal past.
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