New African art museum in China

Unfortunately not of the African art you are expecting.┬áIn Songzhuang, Beijing’s biggest artist community in the eastern suburbs of the city, a retired Chinese couple, Li Songshan and Han Ron have constructed a new art center. With 13 buildings covering 1,000 square meters, the center, which is called African Tribe, has hundreds of Makonde carvings in ebony the couple have brought back from Africa over the past 30 years. It will be completed and open to the public in May, and will be the first privately owned non-profit organization in China dedicated to promoting African culture. African Tribe is composed of four parts: the African Art Experiencing and Exhibition Hall, African Artist Workshop, African craft shops run by Africans, and the African Makonde Art Institute. Prior to the establishment of African Tribe, Li and Han had donated more than 12,000 African woodcarvings and paintings they had collected from Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and other southeastern African countries to the Changchun municipal government. Then a Songshan Hanrong African Art Collection Museum was built to display the collection, allowing local people a close look at these pieces. The museum is the first of its kind to specialize in foreign art and the collection was the largest donation of foreign art since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Read more about it here.

Li Songshan and his wife Han Rong. Photo courtesy of the China Daily.

Li Songshan and his wife Han Rong. Photo courtesy of the China Daily.