Musée Dapper, Paris
10 November 2010 through 10 July 2011
35 bis Rue Paul Valéry, 75116 Paris
+33 1 45 00 91 75

The Musée Dapper is staging France's first major exhibition devoted to the arts of Angola. Featuring around one hundred and forty works, it includes masks of different styles, statuettes of chiefs evoking the hunter hero Chibinda Ilunga, cult figures and insignia of dignity, impressive magico-religious artefacts and polychrome bas-reliefs. The space dedicated to contemporary art will present one of Angola's greatest artists, António Ole.

As a result of its rich diversity of peoples, Angola witnessed the development of myriad culture areas in which prestigious forms of court arts served to glorify the chiefs' political and spiritual power. The worship of ancestors and spirits also gave rise to sophisticated artistic practices, encouraged further by the initiation institutions that provided training for young girls and boys.

The masks, statuettes, emblems and numerous other artworks produced by the Chokwe, Kongo, Lwena, Lwimbi, Mwila and Ovimbundu, to cite the most well-known peoples, occupy a central place in Angolan arts.

This exhibition presents an astonishing repertoire of forms, which not only exemplify specific styles but also afford glimpses of borrowings and influences. Thus, while the masks carved from wood or made from other plant materials may have been designed, like the wooden cult figures, to fulfil a specific role and were unique to a particular group, they frequently hint at links between different peoples. The selection is intended to be as representative as possible of the output of peoples who helped to build a truly exceptional artistic heritage.