Islamic treasures in Africa, from Timbuktu to Zanzibar

Published on 14.04.2017
Islam lived by the African people, this is what the World Arab Institute offers through an exhibition of 300 contemporary and patrimonials pieces. From 14 april to 30 july
© Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication

The exhibition dives deep into the cheerful and colorfoul islam history of the sub-Saharan Africa since the VIIIth century.

The Arab World Institute offers a new vision of the history ; how the religion practical was weaned away of the arabic, berber, persian culture to be only considered as muslim african people. This is the main subject of exhibition « Islamic treasures in Africa, from Timbuktu to Zanzibar » which gives a three times journey : native language syllabics, holy gestures and islamic pieces of art from sub-Saharan Africa.

On this occasion, a particular pride of place will be given to Timbuktu. In the XVth century, scholars of the islamic world were present in the malian city thanks to its universities and libraries. A dozen of valuable manuscripts coming from the memorial library Mamma Haidara will be shown to the public for the first time in France. We can recall the need to preserve those manuscripts, especially since 2000 of them were burned in Mossoul by Daech in 2015, some of them were 7000 years outdated.

Among the contemporary artists exhibited, there is the Ethopian artist, Aïda Muluneh with her picture « City Life » (2016) (the exhibition poste). Her photograph is melt with weave and interbreeding. Some other outstanding pieces such as royal goods from the middle XIXth century,  will be highlighted as a synthesis between islam and minimalists rituals. Visitors will also discover boubou's history, a typically african outfit, through a local panorama of its creators and designers, from Mali to Nigeria.

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