On our 8th day we visited the Maison des Esclave at Goree island. We will soon put more information and images about this visit on our blog.
After our visit to the beautiful island of Goree and the impressive Maison des Esclave we drove to Point E to visit the architectural school of Jean-Charles Tall who’ve we met on our first evening in Dakar, and gave us an introduction to Dakar together with Koyo Kouoh.
Jean-Charles Tall started the Architecture College together with a group of architects in 1990 when the Senegalese government closed the only official architectural school in the country.
More then 90 students are studying 2 till 3 years at the school and get a certificate which is validated by the Senegalese Ministry of Education. After 3 years they are official ”technical engineers”. If they want to become an architect they have to study an additional 4 years.
The school is a private school and is not receiving any financial support by the Senegalese government and was initially financed by the architects who erected the school. The Architecture College is also offering education to students form outside Senegal (Comoros, DR Congo, Mauritania etc.).
The Architecture College wants to be a space for reflexion and feed the cultural climate in Senegal. This is why the school not only focusses on architecture but also on cultural heritage, urbanism and environment. For Jean-Charles Tall it’s very important that students get confronted with both theory and reality. Last year he let students visit shanty areas in Dakar to confront them with everyday realities.
After the visit of the architecture school we had a gap in our programme and Jean-Charles Tall advised us to go to the Maison de la Culture Douta Seck, to visit the Les Musiques Noires dans le Monde. When we arrived at the centre we were told that the centre was officially closed due to unpaid bills in the last couple of months (which seems a common problem for cultural organisations in Senegal).
We asked kindly if it they could re-open for our group for just one hour, which seemed to be possible after some negotiations (and bargaining!).
The exhibition was an interactive introduction to the story of black music. The route through the exhibition was thematic and started with a room with 21 translucent columns which presented the 21 ‘sacred figures of black music’. These ”monuments sacres” were Senegalese artist Youssou N’dour, B.B. King, James Brown, Oum Kalthoum, Bob Marley, Ali Farka Touré and even Elvis Presley! We all got a audio tour with touchscreen so everyone of us could listen to his or her own favourite black music. The exhibition continued a route through 4 other zones: Mama Africa, The Birth of The Black Atlantic, The Black Americas and Global Mix. Personally I was really impressed by the Birth of Black Atlantic installation. A long, dark, menacing corridor represented the tragic journey of millions of slaves across the Atlantic. This slave trade lead to the birth of black atlantic sacred rites and rhythms.
The exhibition was created as part of the 3rd Festival Mondial des Arts Negres (World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures) which took place in 2010 initiated by the Senegalese government. The first festival was initiated by former president of Senegal, Léopold Sédar Senghor in 1966. More information can be found on: http://www.mondomix.com/musiques-noir or http://blackworldfestival.com/wp/
In the evening we had diner with a big group of invited guests from out Dakar at Le Kadjinol, a great space without a roof close to our hotel.
Sebas van der Sangen