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Linden-Museum Stuttgart “Wo ist Afrika?” Exhibition

Linden-Museum Stuttgart “Wo ist Afrika?” Exhibition

Linden-Museum Stuttgart “Wo ist Afrika?” Exhibition (Where is Africa?) was curated by Dr. Sandra Ferracuti in 2019. The exhibition provides a deep understanding of the Linden-Museum’s African collections. Its aim is to explore the multifaceted notion of “African culture” from historical, aesthetic, and critical perspectives. The exhibition employs specific instances to demonstrate the process of collection formation, evolution, and varying presentation styles across different historical periods.

Linden-Museum, Stuttgart "Wo ist Afrika?"  (Where is Africa?) Exhibition Photo of a ceremonial dance mask from Cameroon from the Linden Museum Stuttgart. Mask in red, black and white.

Photo of a ceremonial dance mask from Cameroon from the Linden Museum Stuttgart


Exploring Ethnographic Collections: Colonial Appropriation to Contemporary Discourse

Linden-Museum Stuttgart “Wo ist Afrika?” Exhibition delves into diverse thematic and historical angles, tackling the intricate realm of provenance research concerning objects from the colonial era, alongside contemporary African culture and art production. It examines the appropriation of ethnographic collections during colonial times, unraveling the origins of objects, the identities of their collectors, and the portrayal of African cultural artifacts in past exhibitions. Emphasizing evolving perspectives, it addresses pressing inquiries such as the increasing significance of certain themes and questions in recent times. Moreover, the exhibition confronts the delicate issue of artifacts not intended for public display or those obtained through violent looting and plundering, prompting contemplation on ethical discourse surrounding their exhibition and interpretation.

Cultural Interconnectedness: Exploring Relationships and Practices

The Linden-Museum, Stuttgart “Wo ist Afrika?” Exhibition places a significant emphasis on portraying Africa’s rich tapestry of interconnections, relationships, and cultural practices, extending far beyond the continent’s borders. It illustrates how these connections manifest in various cultural expressions. Through selected objects, it delves into diverse themes such as beauty rituals, dining etiquette, mnemonic techniques, royal ceremonies, and diplomatic artifacts. Many of these artifacts originate from regions like Cameroon, the Congo Basin, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania, collected during the colonial “race for Africa” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Simultaneously, the exhibition celebrates contemporary African culture, highlighting the global interconnectivity evident in urban life, the transcontinental skills and mobility of artisans, and the artistic diversity of modern African art. “Wo ist Afrika?” delves into the historical narratives embedded in these objects and explores their contemporary significance and potential interpretations.

Linden-Museum, Stuttgart "Wo ist Afrika?"  (Where is Africa?)  Exhibition Photo of an Elephant Stool from Linden Museum Stuttgart website. Everyday use object with signs of use, wood patina.

Photo of an Elephant Stool from Linden Museum Stuttgart website @

Dynamic Collaboration: Embracing Change and Diverse Narratives

Linden-Museum Stuttgart “Wo ist Afrika?” Exhibition adopts a dynamic, process-oriented approach that challenges the traditional authority of museums in interpretation. It presents a plethora of intersecting narratives and poses significant questions about contemporary social coexistence. Developed in close collaboration with the Advisory Board for the Representation of Africa Collections (ABRAC), as well as cultural practitioners and artists from Africa and the Diaspora, the exhibition provides a platform for multiple perspectives, including specially commissioned artworks.

Continuously evolving, the exhibition is subject to modifications by the current Africa Department and its collaborative partners. This ensures the integration of recent developments such as ongoing research discoveries, restitution processes, and collaborative initiatives, thereby maintaining relevance and reflecting the dynamic nature of cultural discourse.

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