On admiring and exploiting Afrika

"If the history of Africa tells us anything, it is that producing great art is no guarantee of winning anyone's respect. It seems incredible, when you look at the masterpieces of African art in the British Museum, that exploiters and imperialists could ever have dismissed the disparate peoples of Africa as lesser breeds, ripe for the plucking. Africa has created some of the greatest art that ever existed, and the brilliance of it has been known to Europeans for a long time.... None of this prevented the British from eradicating the entire civilisation in a single bloody "punitive expedition" in 1897.... Great art whose perpetrators were despised: it is an image of Africa's cultural history. And it continues today, because the art that makes it into galleries abroad is not, by definition, the culture of Africa's excluded millions.


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