Hidden away in the 16th Arrondissement, Musée Dapper seems incongrous in its surroundings. High-end clothing boutiques, designer stores, an elegant Nespresso boutique, and just off the posh Avenue Victor Hugo is the museum.
An artistic and cultural space for Africa, the Caribbean and their diaporas is how the museum bills itself. It is an offshoot of the Dapper Foundation, which was established to raise the profile of sub-saharan Africa’s artisic heritage.
I took in the Mascarades et Carnavales exhibition last week. It is on until July. A fitting exhibit seeing as it is the month of carnivals. I do believe the Paris Carnival is itself an annual treat, which I missed. Quel dommage!
The museum had made use of the auditorium and the small room upstairs. Themed around carnivals and masks, it takes the visitor from the history of the carnival and various symbolic meanings behind the masks from the different regions of Africa to the French departments: Benin to Martinique. The ritual, ceremony, and festivities associated with carnivals from Central to West Africa, Martinique, Guyana to Brazil all form part of the exhibit. Videos stream the carnivals from around the various regions.
Being the proud owner of two Ohema and Ohene (King and Queen) carvings from Ghana, it was interesting to learn about those of other countries.
There is a small gift shop and bookstore downstairs, with an extensive collection of works from African writers, and an enviable children’s books section -which I could only admire as they are all in french.
A light lunch at Café Dapper, which had an eclectic mix of people across all age groups.
From the 14th to 24th of March the museum will hold the first in a series of soirées hosted by Léonora Miano, writer and creator of the cultural movement Mahogany March. It opens with a Scène Slam titled Afropean 14th March.
See website for more details.
For the younger audience – On sunday afternoons the museum has film screenings.
35 bis, rue Paul Valery
|The jewelry display in the gift shop|
|Decor in the foyer|
|A sculpture at the entrance|