Top 5 Museums in Europe that Showcase African History

  1. Musée Yves Saint Laurent Museum Paris, France 

At the Musée Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris, France, and exhibition video is dedicated solely to emerging African-American models. During the rise of the iconic brand Yves Saint Laurent, black models were simply not wanted or featured in many high-end fashion shows. Saint Laurent became one of the first designers to showcase black beauty and broadcast how a variety of his colors and textured looked best on dark skin. While this museum is small, I highly recommend this exhibit if you find yourself in Paris.

 

 

2. Musée d’Orsay Paris, France 

If you love the infamous Louvre Musée where the Mona Lisa is shown, you’ll love this museum even more. Ranging in works from Van Gogh, Monet, and William Bouguereau, this museum showcases eccentric art from numerous time periods.

 

 

3. Tate Modern London, England 

Tate Modern is an art exhibition that showcases international and modern contemporary art. In one section of the museum on the second floor their is a section that highlights the societal, emotional, and physical effects of slavery. Shown below are four images of former slaves that each have phrases written across their chest. These phrases move along as one sentence that describes the effects of slavery that aren’t commonly discussed. The themes of scientific exploitation of the black body and the constant posture of their body’s specific features are explained in the sentence.

 

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4. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Netherlands 

While one would not think to find any photographs of African history, there are quite a few in this contemporary Netherlands museum. This photo showcases the migration numerous African families took in search of a better life in Europe. Many of these families were forced to exile because of the circumstances in their mother countries from colonization.

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5. Palais De Tokyo Paris, France 

Palais De Tokyo is hands down my favorite “crazy” art exhibition I have visited in Europe. Their exhibitions features numerous artists that each showcase their work relating to social, economical, or political problems across the world. I was bummed at first that they did not feature any black inspired art until I entered the last floor. Painted largely on the side wall was a portrait of Saartjie Baartman, an African woman who was grossly showcased as a freak show attraction due to her extremely large buttocks. The portrait took me aback and I was left staring for at least 20 minutes at it. I love how the artist featured Saartjie with a blue tear mark on her cheek and a black heart above her head, suggesting to the pain she felt while on display but a heart to showcase the feature appreciation of her beauty.

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