28-30 Јunе 2019
The Afro Festival is one of the most important annual events, which has been organized by the Museum of African Art since 1997. The Afro Festival is a unique event in Serbia and the region, and promotes the cultures of Africa by creating a truly cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Festival offers exhibitions and lectures, concerts, talks and travel-related programs, film screenings on African arts and cultures, music and art workshops, as well as guided tours through the Museum’s displays.
The special guest of this year’s Afro Festival is the country guest of honour, the Arab Republic of Egypt & the performance of the Egyptian dance troupe Reda.
Friday, 28 June
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT │ Ancient Egyptian Collections in Museums in Serbia
The exhibition brings valuable and to this point rarely, if ever, exhibited objects from ancient-Egyptian collections in museums in Serbia. The exhibition is based on the collaboration of 11 institutions: the City Museum Vršac, Town Museum of Sombor, City Museum of Subotica, Museum of Srem, Užice National Museum, Belgrade City Museum, Museum of Yugoslavia, Jewish Historical Museum in Belgrade, National Museum in Belgrade, the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia – Belgrade and the Museum of African Art as host and project initiator.
The artefacts are linked to temples and tombs, and chronologically speaking they are linked to the period spanning from the Old Kingdom to the Roman Era. The exhibition reflects also on the widespread fascination with Egypt and its ancient culture, which stirred (in this part of the world) the adventurous spirit of wealthy travellers, and continues to inspire to the present day.
The exhibition was organized to mark 111 years of diplomatic relations between Serbia and Egypt.
The exhibition will be opened by H. E. Mr. Amr Aljowaily, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Exhibition curators: Nenad Marković, Aleksandra P. Bojović, Milica Naumov & Emilia Epštajn
Saturday, 29 June
CAPOEIRA ANGOLA BELGRADO
Dance performance with open capoeira and Afro-Brazilian percussion workshops
Members of Capoeira Angola Belgrado will present the capoeira Angola form and Sаmbа dе rоdа dance-performance. Capoeira – as a technique, dance, performance, martial art, accompanied by music and the rhythm of percussions – appeared among Africans who were brought as slaves to Brazil in the 19th century. Based upon the notion of attaining harmony between body and spirit, movement and rhythm, it is taught and learnt primarily through interaction, observation, repetition and creating, each and every time, a new shared experience between the participants of the hoda (circle) performing space. Initially, this Afro-Brazilian art was a form of entertainment camouflaging with music, song and movement, elements of history, culture, certain messages and/or heritage. In the 1930s it was officialised as a sport in Brazil, thus opening up towards all segments of society. Today, capoeira is a global phenomenon and in 2014 UNESCO inscribed it on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Besides dance and the movements of defence and attack, songs and music played on the musical bow birimbau and percussions, participants of the capoeira hoda (circle) share values such as the principle of common respect between communities, groups and individuals, the importance of social integration and remembrance culture regarding the injustices of cultural repression throughout history.
From 4 to 6 pm
50Grass has been present on the local DJ scene for 15 years. As a soloist and member of eminent DJ collectives, he worked in notable clubs in the city, and for the past 8 years he has been a member of the well known Belgrade R&B-Rap collaboration Vatra (Fire) and toured the region and all of the bigger festivals in the country. He shared the stage with many renowned international performers and appeared twice on Exit Festival's Main Stage.
His acts combine all styles and sub-styles of „black sound“, and for his unique performance at the MAA he will mix African music ranging from classical Afro-Beat, across Afro-Disco and Afro-Funk, to the freshest tendencies they have evolved, including some of the traditional gems.
Sunday, 30 June
From 10 am to 6 pm
DURBАR, THE FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS
Day of friendship, music and dance
The most important day of the Festival is Durbar Day, the Festival of Festivals – day of friendship, music and dance. The beautiful Museum Garden is a fitting setting to celebrate this day of African music, dance, arts, crafts and culture. With the generous support of the African diplomatic community in Belgrade, visitors can enjoy the culinary specialities from different parts of Africa.
This year’s participants include the embassies of Egypt, Guinea, Congo, Libya, Morocco & Tunisia, and the consulates of Namibia and Jamaica.
From 11 am to 12 noon
PRIZES & CERTIFICATES
Awards will be given to the best works of art created at the Impressions of Africa art competition and certificates handed to participants of the Swahili – Language workshops.
At 12 noon
Official speech by H. E. Mr. Amr Fathi Mohamed Aljowaily, the Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt to Serbia
At 12:30 pm
THE REDA TROUPE
Performance of the music and dance troupe from Egypt
The Reda Troup was created by Professor Mahmoud Reda in 1959. This Troup, performing under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture of Egypt, performs in its alluring choreographies the dances characteristic to different Egyptian regions – from the Red Sea, across Nubia and Upper Egypt, to dances found among the nomadic communities and in rural settings.
Saturday, 29 & Sunday, 30 June
From 10 am to 6 pm
THE AFRICAN BAZAAR
Arts and crafts sale exhibition
In the most straightforward manner the African Bazaar presents material culture from the African continent. The Bazaar creates an opportunity for people from across the globe to meet and share their interests, thus affirming the Museum’s role as “House of Africa in Belgrade”. The sale exhibition offers visitors an array of different arts, crafts and souvenirs such as masks and sculptures in stone and wood, handmade and coloured fabrics, paintings, batiks and decorative objects for the interior.
Special guest of this year’s festival is the National Art Gallery of Namibia.
From 10 am to 6 pm
IMPRESSIONS OF AFRICA
Exhibition of the best artworks by participants of the sixth MAA Art Competition
Once a year the MAA organises an Art competition, inviting children and youth (6-18 year-olds) from pre-school, primary and secondary schools, art studios for the young, etc. to create works on given themes.
In 2019, inspired by the permanent display and thematic exhibition “Everyday Poetics. Instagramming Life in East Africa”, participants transposed into drawings and paintings their impressions of the vast creative output from the African continent.
From 11 am to 5 pm
AFRICA FOR KIDS
Join our creative workshops and: - learn about the flower that symbolises Egypt and colours used to paint a lavish flower-garden... - write your name on cartouches in ancient hieroglyphics... - meet the stubborn and friendly animals that appear in the exciting stories from Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries, and the world... - & discover the movements and rhythms of Capoeira Angola!
*All workshops are tailored and guided by MAA’S team of museum curators and associates: Маriја Мilоš, Мilicа Јоsimоv, Аnа Knеžеvić, Drаgаnа Маrkоvić, Nеnаd Маrkоvić, Аlеksаndrа Мinić & Маriјаnа Štrubel
CAPOEIRA ANGOLA – RHYTHM & MOVEMENT
LOTUS FLOWERS – SYMBOLS OF EGYPT
MAKE AN EGYPTIAN CARTOUCHE
At 11 am, 2 pm & 4 pm
Topical guided tours through the permanent display
These dynamic and original tours were prepared by final year students from the Faculty of Philosophy. The tours offer visitors an opportunity to learn more about the function of music everyday life and rituals, the role of women in the traditional community and fertility belief systems, African philosophy and religion, masks and rituals, royal art and the ancestral cult.
Saturday, 29 June
MASKS OF LIFE'S IMPORTANCE – THE RITUALS OF WEST AFRICAN PEOPLES
Guided by Мilоrаd Živkоvić, archaeology student
The use of masks in rituals among the peoples of West Africa occupied researchers in their aims to understand the stories behind them, which are linked to protection from evil spirits, summoning the higher powers, fertility dances, etc. Opposite laymen conclusions that rituals are “theatre plays” whose only goal is to entertain, they were of extreme significance for the community. Actually, every important event in the life of the individual was marked with certain rituals. This guided tour through the permanent display will offer visitors an opportunity to enter the “spiritual” world and learn more about the traditions of West Africa, manifest in the objects of the permanent display.
FROM “MOTERH EARTH” TO KNEELING FIGURE – THE DOUBLE ROLE OF WOMEN IN EAST AFRICAN SOCIETIES
Guided by Anja Vulić, master student in history
The universal need for fertility, as a crowning motive in West African communities, is (mostly) symbolically represented through the fully developed female body. “Mother Earth” is the one who decides about the abundance of the crops and birth of healthy children. Many rituals are held in her honour – everything is done to appease her. Through the objects on the permanent display I will reconstruct the position of women in traditional West African societies.
AN INTRODUCTION TO AFRICAN PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION: GOD AND THE CREATION OF THE WORLD
Guided by Мirа Pаvlоvić, master student in philosophy
In contemporary African philosophy, religion and cultural tradition have an extraordinary place. Is there a god, and how did the world came into existence, are among the questions that have always intrigued the human mind. According to the studies of European travelers and missioners, the nations of West Africa were „pagans“, people without a religion; however, masks and sculptures on the permanent display of the Museum of African Art will convince you otherwise. Myths, rituals and religion are the basic elements of African philosophy and African philosophy is often named ethnophilosophy. While walking through the permanent exhibition you will learn somethin new and maybe discover the hidden philosopher within you.
Sunday, 30 June
THE ANCESTRAL CULTS OF WEST AFRICAN COMMUNITIES THROUGH MYTHS AND RITUALS
Guided by Vukica Korać, master student in archaeology
The Museum of African Art – the Veda and Dr. Zdravko Pečar Collection opened its doors to the public in 1977. It contains a number of authentic West African artifacts, which all have their own unique story. By referring to myths and rituals the public will learn about objects linked to the ancestral cult – whether figural sculpture or masks. Objects will be “experienced” not solely from their aesthetic aspects, but also in the context of their symbolism and overall function and importance within society. Most West African myths are focused on the creation of the world and the role of the first ancestors, as well as the rituals that connect individuals with the spirits of the past.
ASHANTI, DAHOMEY, BENIN – THE ICONOGRAPHY OF THE RULER AND THE FUNCTION OF ROYAL OBJECTS
Guided by Isidоrа Smilјаnić, master student in history
Representations, that is, the iconography of the ruler holds an important role in all civilizations, and the same goes for the societies of West Africa. This guided tour will follow the objects that best illustrate the status of the ruler, primarily in the states of the Ashanti Federation and the Dahomey Kingdom, but also the great cultural centre of West Africa – the city of Ife. Interpretations of the role of the ruler and the characteristics of royal objects will reveal the state and social order of these cultures and political centres. The guided tour will offer a glimpse into “royal” art which offers a solid starting point for a better understanding of the political and cultural circumstances in West Africa during the XVIII and XIX centuries.
THE FUNCTION OF MUSIC IN EVERYDAY LIFE AND THE RITUALS OF THE PEOPLE OF WEST AFRICA
Guided by Теоdоrа Stојilјkоvić, master student in ethnology and anthropology
The life of the people on the African continent is intertwined with the most diverse cultural practices. Ritual practices are very prominent and extremely important. In everyday life, but also in performing rituals, music plays an important role. First of all, the practice of collective music is developed on different musical instruments, whereby several members of the community perform music that is appropriate for a particular ceremony. When performing rituals, community members often use different masks. This guided tour through the permanent exhibition of the Museum of African Art aims to show the function of music in the life of the community: how music meets certain social norms and how it creates connectivity among community members.
*All guided tours are in Serbian
From 12 noon to 6 pm
Learning the rules of the game and competing
Mancala is one of the oldest games of thought, played in different variants in Africa, Asia South and North America.
The game consists of board and “pebbles”, and strategic thinking!
At 5 pm
UNDER THE SPOTLIGHT │ Ancient Egyptian Collections in Museums in Serbia
Guided tour of the exhibition with Nenad Marković
Nеnаd Маrkоvić is an associate of the MAA on different programs and one of the curators that worked on the “Under the Spotlight” exhibition. He has a BA in history from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade and is currently a PHD candidate at the Czech Institute of Egyptology in Prague (FF UK). He has held numerous lectures, worked on digital excavations, participated in ceramics workshops and participated in numerous summer schools and conferences internationally.
His scientific interest is directed towards the cultural history of Ancient Egypt and the Near East, with special interest in iconography, epigraphy, paperology, perceptions and receptions of Egypt, etc.
*Saturday, 29 June, the guided tour will be in Serbian
**Sunday, 30 June, the guided tour will be in English
THE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN ART –
The Veda and Dr. Zdravko Pečar Collection
14, Andre Nikolića
11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Tel: + 381 11 2651 654
Tel/fax: + 381 11 2651 269
Entrance: 200 RSD
Tickets purchase: Museum entrance
Entrance is free for children under age 6
The Museum Garden is pet friendly
FRIENDS OF THE FESTIVAL: