EXHIBITION: West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song

Marion Wallace's picture

The British Library’s major autumn exhibition is now open.

‘West Africa: Word, Symbol, Song’ is 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 colourful 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 the 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.

For more information see http://www.bl.uk/events/west-africa-word-symbol-song.

Tickets £10. Concessions include a special group price of £5 per person for groups of 6 or more. Students £5.

See the curator’s blog for more on the thinking behind the exhibition: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/asian-and-african/2015/10/west-africa-word-symbol-song.html

More information is on the BL’s West Africa web pages: http://www.bl.uk/west-africa/

The exhibition is accompanied by a major series of talks, events and performances. See http://www.bl.uk/events