West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song
New exhibition at the British Library
Until 16 February 2016

© Photo by Bernard Matussière, reproduced by kind permission of Knitting Factory Records © Photo by Bernard Matussière, reproduced by kind permission of Knitting Factory Records

An exhibition of literature and music – from the great African empires of the Middle Ages to the cultural dynamism of West Africa today.


Fascinating stories from the region’s 17 nations show how West Africans have harnessed the power of words to build societies, drive political movements, sustain religious belief and fight injustice.


Beautiful manuscripts, historic film and sound recordings, books, photographs, and woven and printed textiles offer a unique insight into a profound and engaging literary culture with centuries-old written heritage existing alongside ancient oral traditions.


Hear the myth of the founding of ancient Mali in recorded performance. See the influence of religion through colourful fabric and a saddlebag Qur’an. Celebrate writers and artists including Africa’s first Nobel prize winner, Wole Soyinka, and internationally acclaimed musician and human rights activist Fela Kuti.


Info: West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song is open until 16 February 2016 at the British Library, 96, Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB. Book now





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