The musée du Nouveau Monde of La Rochelle presents the temporary exhibition Baz’Art! Art and commerce among the Kongo, in partnership with the AfricaMuseum.

In the 19th century, private Western commercial companies established themselves in various parts of the African continent. In Central Africa, the region between Cabinda and the Lower Congo area was particularly sought after by some of these companies, which were headquartered in France, England, Portugal, or the Netherlands.
Through alliances and "country-style" contracts with local leaders from the so-called Kongo cultures, they set up trading posts, which were stores offering various types of goods for sale or exchange. These trading posts not only sold goods but also purchased a variety of products (such as ivory, oilseeds, etc.), often brought by African caravans.
This region of Central Africa continued to play a significant commercial role during the colonial period proper. This also meant that Kongo populations had privileged access to many European manufactured goods, acquiring them long before other cultures located further inland.
The exhibition demonstrates how people and objects from elsewhere influenced daily life, thereby impacting indigenous artisanal and artistic productions. Local populations capitalized on the presence of a new clientele eager to purchase "made in Kongo" products. Some case studies also reveal that long before the 19th century, Kongo populations had contact with Europeans, particularly in relation to the slave trade.

Curator: Julien Volper

Catalog authors MRAC: Mathilde Leduc-Grimaldi, Julien Volper, Madelon Dewitte, and Célia Charkaoui

Expositions hors les murs

Musée du Nouveau Monde

10 rue Fleuriau
17000 - La Rochelle

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8€ Adult