New Materials and Contexts

By Mary Nooter Roberts
University of California, Los Angeles

While many African museums are transformed from earlier architectural structures with particular historical and ideological significance, some are built from scratch with financial assistance from former colonial powers and according to colonial specifications. The museum in Bamako in Mali is a brand new modern structure that represents an effort by the French to help the Malian government. It is significant that the current President of Mali, Alpha Konare, is a former museum professional. The emphasis on museums, culture, and art in the national governmental and bureaucratic structure is indicative of explicit politics where nationalism is developed, but where the French dimension is nevertheless strongly in evidence.