Arts in Africa

July 2009 -

Images of Egyptian pyramids are alternated with ones of sculptures made of soap stone from Zimbabwe on the Arts in Africa web site that was recently launched. The site hopes to become a one-stop portal for information on African arts, including information on government policies and international organizations. Because, as the site quotes from an Unesco report: "creative industries are important drivers of economic sectors."

Arts in Africa is an initiative by the ARTerial Network, which met for the first time on Senegal's Gore island in 2007. The site offers information about developments in the culture sector on the African continent. It also has an list of addresses of donors and funds as well as a list of links to e-newsletters and web logs. Other information includes reports on major conferences discussing culture and development held in recent years and a summary of the cultural policy of eleven African countries and the African Union.

The central part of the web site is a cultural profile map of Africa. After clicking on a certain country, a table is displayed with general data and a brief history. Clicking in a table on the right-hand side leads to information about national cultural institutions, architecture, handicraft, dance, music, social organizations, media, fashion and visual arts. Not all information is available on-line: some of the headers have no text. The site also contains a few errors. The Angola museum of the Louisiana State Penitentiary (USA), for example, is listed under 'heritage and museums' in Angola.

Arts in Africa is supported by Hivos and the Strømme Foundation.