Exhibition group: Georgette Singbe, Claude West, Thibaut Bossa and Joachim Babanawo
Text and photos: Mira Kotamäki (trans. Emonie Ayiwe)
Villa Karo's 20th anniversary year presents an art collection which consists of African objects and works collected by founder Juha Vakkuri during his travels. The exhibition in Musée Karo invites the viewer to visit the past kingdoms of West Africa, whose traditions it wants to pay tribute to.
The objects and their presentation form a whole that introduces both the everyday life and the festivities of the kingdoms. However, a contrast has been created between these elements by using colours in the exhibition space that have symbolic meanings in the West African tradition. Soda bottles, weapons, various tools and accessories are organised in front of the red, black and white tiles in the museum space, arousing the viewer to reflect on the stories they hide and admire the diversity of materials and their imaginative use.
The exhibition is curated by Georgette Singbe, Villa Karo's cultural manager, in collaboration with Claude West. For Singbe, the exhibition has been an important project, the implementation and work of which she is particularly pleased with. The end result looks excellent, but the ultimate goal of the exhibition is related to the reciprocity of the audience. “We expect the general public to understand the importance of the theme of the exhibition. We also want visitors to have the material to research and build an identity, which is important for rewriting African history” says Singbe.
The public reception has been positive. The exhibition gained great popularity and visitors arrived in large groups even from a long distance before the closure of museums caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Singbe remains positive and believes that the goals of the exhibition will be met when the museums can be opened again.
Georgette Singbe thinks that the theme of the exhibition is very important.