Four years after the opening of the internationally well-received 'Art from Africa' exhibition, the Ethnological Museum now presents four new exhibition areas to the public. 'The Kingdom of Benin' and 'Bamum. Tradition and Innovation in the Grasslands of Cameroon' give visitors an insight into the history of Africa by taking two significant parts of the African collection as examples, while the 'Contemporary Art from Africa' room sees several important new acquisitions go on display. The centrepiece of 'Africa in Berlin' is an Ijele mask that was created by a Nigerian artist for the Igbo community in Berlin.
These four new themed areas to the Africa exhibition have also been conceived of in relation to the plans for the African exhibition in the Humboldt Forum, in which the aim is to free the historical African collections from the constraints of being merely regarded from an ethnographic viewpoint. The collections do not so much stand for an exotic far-away continent which proved useful to Europeans in the way they liked to perceive themselves. Rather, they are much more testaments of a social process in which both Africans and Europeans were actively involved.
It is impossible to conceive of the development of the 20th century up to the present day without also taking the history of Africa into consideration. Africa's contemporary culture or questions of migration will be afforded much greater space in the Humboldt Forum as was ever possible in Dahlem.
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