Tag Archives: Atlanta

Jimmy Carter inaugurates ‘Kongo across the Waters’ exhibit in Atlanta

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The suspense is palpable tonight. It is 15 May 2014 at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta (USA), and the former US president is about to arrive at ‘his’ museum to inaugurate the Kongo across the Waters exhibit. His visit to the museum is a rare occurrence and takes place only twice or thrice a year, says museum director David Stanhope. The guests are all dressed up for the occasion.

Then a voice in my ear whispers that the former president would make a stop in a small room, away from the public eye, for a photo session with the directors and exhibit curators.
I follow in the footsteps of one curator and find myself in the room, one of a select few allowed to take pictures of the group with Jimmy Carter. After a few test shots, the moment arrives and we see the smiling faces of Jimmy Carter and his wife as they enter the room. Time is limited and photos are taken rapidly. Despite his age, the 89-year-old Carter remains very active, and his schedule only allows for an hour-long stop.

The opening speeches come next. After the speeches of David Stanhope, Dean Jacqueline Royster of the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts (Georgia Institute of Technology), and Georgia Tech President ‘Bud’ Peterson, it is Jimmy Carter’s turn to speak behind the podium, to rousing applause from the public. The audience is enthralled; the years have not dulled his sense of oratory. With no notes to help him, he talks of his college years, the Carter Center’s activities in DR Congo, the joint efforts of Belgium and the United States there, the exhibit’s importance to Atlanta, and his latest book. His speech is liberally sprinkled with humour.

Jimmy Carter is not the only one to have come all the way for the event. Johan Verbeke, the Belgian ambassador to the USA, has made a special trip from Washington D.C. for the first time. His speech is followed by ones delivered by Alexander Cummings, Chief Administrative Officer de Coca-Cola; Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Council member; and finally Guido Gryseels, director of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA).

The speeches are followed by a guided exhibit tour led by the four curators Susan Cooksey, Robin Poynor, and Carlee Forbes of the University of Florida, and Hein Vanhee of the RMCA. A dinner brings the intense evening to a close.
(Jonas Van de Voorde)

The Kongo across the Waters exhibit was inaugurated on Thursday 15 May 2014 at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum (Atlanta, USA), where it will run until 21 September 2014. A collaboration between the RMCA and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art (Gainesville, Florida), the exhibit includes 111 pieces from the RMCA.
It was first presented at the Harn Museum (22 October 2013 – 23 March 2014), where it attracted more than 40,000 visitors. After Atlanta, Kongo across the Waters will move to Princeton University Art Museum (25 October 2014 – 25 January 2015) and the New Orleans Museum of Art (27 February – 25 May 2015).

Récit du voyage du masque kakuungu

kakuunguCe chef d’œuvre, un masque de bois aux proportions gigantesques (60 x 40 cm) est généralement appelé kakuungu. Il était utilisé chez les SUKU (Kimbau, Bandundu méridional, RDCongo) lors de l’initiation des jeunes garçons au monde des adultes par le spécialiste des charmes yisidika. Il apparaissait habituellement le jour de la circoncision, lors de la clôture du camp d’initiation afin d’effrayer les jeunes candidats et qu’ils témoignent obéissance et respect à leurs aînés.

En janvier 2014 ce masque kakuungu a quitté les réserves du MRAC afin d’être exposé dans African Mask/Masquerade: More Than Meets the Eye  au High Museum of Art à Atlanta  (USA).

Suivez le voyage de ce chef d’œuvre dans cet album photo

  • Un mardi matin en janvier : le véhicule de la firme de transport Hizkia Van Kralingen est masque kakuunguprêt pour son trajet vers l’aéroport de Bruxelles-national. Les caisses y sont embarquées pour le vol vers Atlanta, en compagnie de notre collègue Françoise van Hauwaert.
  • 16h35 : arrivée à Atlanta après près de 8h de vol. Le contrôle à la douane prend encore une bonne heure. Les caisses sont à nouveau chargées dans un véhicule, cette fois en direction du High Museum of Art.
  • 19h heure locale mais déjà 1h du matin en Belgique : le véhicule arrive au musée. Becky Parker (Associate Registrar, Exhibitions) aide à décharger les caisses et les accompagne vers les réserves où elles doivent s’acclimater durant 36 heures.
  • Jeudi matin : froid et soleil sur Atlanta. La caisse est déplacée vers l’emplacement où le masque sera exposé.
  • La caisse est ouverte et le dernier papier de soie est retiré. Le masque est installé sur son socle fait sur mesure. Les protagonistes, notre collègue Françoise van Hauwaert et Becky Parker, posent avec la vitrine.
  • Le masque kakuungu est dorénavant exposé dans la vitrine à l’arrière de l’allée centrale, et ce jusqu’au 14 septembre 2014.