Minister of Culture Moyongo and Minister for Hydrocarbons Thystere-Tchicaya attended the inauguration
The Musée du Cercle Africain was inaugurated on 3 December in Pointe Noire, Congo, becoming the city’s first museum
The museum is located on the edge of the Grand Marché, in an elegant palais that was built in 1947 as a meeting point for Pointe Noire’s bourgeoisie, later becoming a hub of cultural and political activism for decades before being abandoned in the 1990s. The museum was devised by Eni Congo to promote and enhance the reputation of African art and culture, with a special focus on younger generations. The initiative as a whole falls under Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
The structure comprising a large central hall, some smaller rooms on the sides and a large open space has been completely renovated by Eni Congo and set up with a permanent collection of masks, statues, ritual objects of the Congo (Luca Cosentino collection) and other recently acquired works. A second room displays photographs that trace the history of Pointe Noire, the construction of the Congo-Ocean railway and the development of the oil sector. Finally, a large portico is dedicated to a permanent exhibition of contemporary Congolese painting and temporary exhibitions. For the museum's inauguration, the area is hosting the first Painting Salon in the Congo, with works by over 30 artists.
The inauguration took place in the presence of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Congo Dieudonné Moyongo, the Minister of Hydrocarbons Jean-Marc Thystere-Tchicaya, the Mayor of Pointe Noire Jean-François Kando, the Italian Ambassador in Brazzaville Andrea Mazzella, UNESCO Representative Vincenzo Fazzino, and Marco Rotondi, Managing Director of Eni Congo.
The Museum has the patronage of UNESCO, which has recognised the importance of the initiative, and will be managed by a Foundation created by Eni Congo together with the Ministry of Hydrocarbons, the Ministry of Culture and Arts and the City of Pointe Noire.