The Congolese entrepreneur began his collection of art in Luanda, Angola in 2004, with the aim of unveiling contemporary art to an African audience. In its inaugural decade, the collector’s personal project has entered the public domain, and can now be thought of as a blueprint for building an African collection of contemporary art. With plans to establish a new museum, his Foundation may be a pragmatic answer to the problem of only seeing the majority of African artists shown abroad and seldom on the continent – addressing the historical deficit of knowledge on African art in Africa.
Dokolo’s initiative has enabled the Foundation to negotiate the conditions of cultural exchange between its vast collection and Western museums by insisting they also bring relevant exhibitions to the African continent. The Sindika Dokolo Foundation is symbolic of the structural growth of the Angolan economy, led by a public investment policy in infrastructure, energy, education, and more recently in the arts. While we may have wondered whether there is a distinct lack of interest in contemporary production on the part of Africa’s leaders, Africa’s cultural operators can lay claim to its strategic importance in the formulation of national policy.
And while the destruction of history may have swept away Africa’s cultural institutions and any knowledge of them, the unified vision of Africa captured in the future plans for a centre for contemporary art along with the triennial of contemporary art in Luanda (which will be held next year) tell a different story. Sindika Dokolo Foundation is countering the dominant narrative that suggests African modernisation is bound to failure, triggering new potentialities for cultural development.
[Read More: New African]