Archiving the First World Festival of Negro Arts (Dakar 1966): recuperation, nostalgia and utopianism



Murphy D (2016) Archiving the First World Festival of Negro Arts (Dakar 1966): recuperation, nostalgia and utopianism. World Art, 6 (1), pp. 125-146.

This article will examine the concepts of recuperation, nostalgia and utopianism in relation to the First World Festivals of Negro Arts, which was held in Dakar in 1966, in part through an exploration of how this event was evoked in the third edition of the festival (known as FESMAN) in 2010. It will address a series of intriguing questions about the difficulties involved in locating an archive of ephemeral, performance-based events, which may leave few material traces after they have been completed. Although the major PanAfrican cultural festivals of the 1960s are regularly cited (usually in passing) as key illustrations of the utopianism that marked the period of decolonization, the issue of their actual legacy in terms of popular, institutional and official national memory is a complex one. The first half of the article will thus explore the official archive of the 1966 festival, while also attempting to identify new ways of engaging with some of its legacies for its multiple audiences. The second half of the article will then explore what FESMAN 2010 reveals about the prevalence of processes of recuperation and nostalgia, but also the on-going utopian engagement with the Pan-African archive in contemporary engagements with these ephemeral events from the past.

festivals; archive; performance; nostalgia; African Renaissance

World Art: Volume 6, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online04/05/2016
Date accepted by journal10/03/2016
PublisherTaylor and Francis