Mancala, game of thought
September 12th – October 13th 2014
Exhibition and catalogue by
Ivana Vojt, Art Historian
In collaboration with the Museum of African Art in Belgrade Mancala, game of thought exhibition was taking place at the National Museum Kikinda. Mancala is a cognitive board game based on logical and mathematical combinatorics played in different variations on four continents: in Africa, Asia, South and North America. However, it is only in Africa that that it is played across the whole continent. It is considered to be one of the oldest games in the world and there is evidence of it that goes back to the Neolithic.
The multimedia and interactive exhibition “Mancala, Game of Thought“, by the Museum of African Art curator Ivana Vojt, is conceptualized so as to inform the public about the global character of this board game and at the same time offer the possibility of entering the world of mancala through the act of playing. The exhibition was displayed at the Museum of African Art in Belgrade from December 27th 2012 until October 6th 2013. The “Mancala, Game of Thought“ exhibition has received the honorary Project of the Year Award 2012.
Besides presenting mancala boards from different parts of Africa – Central, Eastern and Western – the exhibition consistently reflects the stylistic features of different ethnic groups, which can be found on the object itself in its form and types of sculptural enhancements. Particularly important from a museological point is their value due to the fact that they were used – the games were played on, that is, all objects on the exhibition were at some point a part of everyday life within the African community. The exhibition displays African mancala boards, counters and sculptures acquired by Belgian collector of African art, Guibert Hairson. In addition to this collection, the exhibition is enriched with objects from the Popović family collection and mancala boards from the Museum of African Art in Belgrade. Also as part of the exhibition’s concept, there are the video works that include interviews with the collector Guibert Hairson, Africans, Western and domestic curators, experts, archaeologists and other experts knowledgeable in this ancient game.