Lemann Lecture Series
Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
2:00 - 3:30 PM
101 International Studies Building
Mariza de Carvalho Soares
Building from Ashes: The African Collection of Museu Nacional (Brazil)
as an Experience of Research, and Education
The Museu Nacional was created in 1818, by Dom João VI, the king of Portugal who had fled to Brazil during the Napoleonic Wars. Over the last 200 years the institution assembled a team of important researchers, and a significant collection of Natural History, including Ethnology. This talk will focus on the African collection, and the African exhibition (Kumbukumbu: África, Memória e Patrimônio, launched in 2014) that burned along with the Museu Nacional on September 2, 2018. The talk draws a picture of the destruction, and a theoretical frame not only to understand the loss, but also to create something new from the remains. The current plan is: 1. To publicize the loss by preparing a digital collection; 2. To promote a debate around the importance of “decolonizing” African collections making them tools to question about racism, and exploitation in Modern World; 3. To find patrons for each of the rescued pieces of the African collection, making them symbols of the new stage of the Kumbukumbu, a Swahili word that means memory, or recollection.
Maria has also included a copy of her article “Collectionism and Colonialism: The Africana Collection at Brazil’s National Museum (Rio de Janeiro)”. It can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/2Q47Ew8.