Mali, now at Musée du quai Branly,  Paris, France.

There is no doubt that the current exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly, entitled, “Dogon” is the most comprehensive and definitely one of the best exhibitions on the well-known culture of the Dogon, Mali. The exhibits are all so impressive that one cannot easily pick out any objects as more interesting and show them to readers, especially Africans who may not be able to visit this excellent exhibition in view of existing restrictions placed on Africans seeking to visit Europe. In any case, France would not accept as ground for requesting a visa for France, the current exhibitions on Dogon, Angola and Voodoo in Paris.


But how did the Musée du Quai Branly manage to assemble such a large number of impressive Dogon artworks? According to the catalogue of the exhibition, Dogon by Hélène Leloup, in addition to the Dogon objects held by the museum, several  institutions and individuals also lent their artefacts.(2) The lenders are listed in the catalogue. It is interesting to note that some of them did not want to be mentioned by name. Did they want to avoid any possible claims of restitution by Mali from where the Dogon objects may have been illegally removed or acquired under suspicious or dubious circumstance?   It is noticeable that not one African or Malian institution or individual person is mentioned in the list of lenders. There is only one African name among the contributors of articles in the catalogue. In the acknowledgements, no African name is mentioned. However, the editor, Hélène Leloup, extends a general thanks to the Dogon people who had revealed some secrets to her and expresses the hope that they will keep their country as quiet and beautiful as their ancestors created it:

Merci â tous les Dogon qui m’ont confié quelques secrets. Qu’ils gardent ce pays, si tranquille et si beau, comme leurs ancêtres l’ont créé.”

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