IMAGES AND MEMORIES:
AFRICAN GOURD IN THE COLLECTIONS OF THE MAA
The exhibition will be opened by:
Aleksandra Momčilović, curator at the Museum of Yugoslav History and
Svetlana Dojčinović, sociologist, traveller and photographer
The “Images and Memories” exhibition recreates the historical moment, as well as the social and personal motifs that guided the creation of a very interesting and to a certain extent neglected collection of object at the Museum of African Art in Belgrade.
The African gourd – calabash – as object of everyday use left a deep mark in the imagination of both travellers and local populations of the African continent. The former created a web of metaphors and myths around this plant and object; the latter perceived it as an inevitable part of the experiential and notional “African landscape”. The “Images and Memories” exhibition traces the African gourd through the collections of the MAA – from objects such as vessels, ladles and musical instruments, to sculptures and applied arts objects that reproduce the calabash motif. This approach questions the firm line created between what is considered to be an authentic “ethnographic” object juxtaposing it with souvenir objects. The set design of the exhibition is supported with postcards and photographs covering the period between the late 1950s to the early 1980s, as well as interesting notes of the Museum founders Zdravko and Veda Pečar from the times of their residence in Africa.
Exhibition concept and catalogue author: Emilia Epštajn, MAA curator