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NGZ to host conference on African cultures



NATIONAL Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) is inviting authors to submit papers for the third edition of the International Conference of African Cultures (ICAC – 2021) set to run virtually and physically from November 17 to 19.

This year’s three-day conference’s theme is: Africa speaks: Confronting Restitution and Repatriation of Artefacts, Human Remains, Objects and Archives from an African Perspective resonates with African Union’s 2021 theme; Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.

NGZ curator for education and public programming Livingstone Muchefa said abstracts must be submitted before September 15.

“ICAC 2021 will be a forum to engage the public, governments, historians, visual artists, curators, archivists, musicians and other cultural actors in knowledge sharing and contribution on how Africa can deal with repatriation and restitution in the future,” he said.

“Successful abstracts will be notified not later than September 30, 2021. Authors of successful abstracts will be requested to submit full papers and power point presentations by October 30, 2021.”

Muchefa said one of the thematic areas that the abstracts were expected to address was repatriation of human remains, objects or artefacts.

“We all need to address the purpose why Africans want their artefacts or culture back to their original countries. It cannot be denied that these objects have a deep personal meaning and national importance to the countries of originality more than where they are located now,” he said.

“Africans are aware of the so-called global museums and we see this as a colonial excuse of wanting to keep these “stolen objects” in the West and the idea cannot be trusted at all.”

Muchefa said participants, who will attend the conference physically will be taken on a tour of cultural institutions, sites and objects to give them an opportunity to see the country’s preparedness to receive what belongs to it.

“The three institutions NGZ, National Archives Zimbabwe and National Museums and Monuments have over the years worked corroboratively in championing dialogue with regards these issues,” he said.

“An exhibition would run alongside the conference showcasing distinguished artists from across the continent.

“The exhibition will feature artworks that respond to the discourse of restitution and return of cultural property.”

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