The First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966

BookThe First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966

The First World Festival of Negro Arts, Dakar 1966

Contexts and legacies

Postcolonialism Across the Disciplines, 20


September 1st, 2016

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In April 1966, thousands of artists, musicians, performers and writers from across Africa and its diaspora gathered in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, to take part in the First World Festival of Negro Arts (Premier Festival Mondial des arts nègres). The international forum provided by the Dakar Festival showcased a wide array of arts and was attended by such celebrated luminaries as Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Aimé Césaire, André Malraux and Wole Soyinka. Described by Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor, as ‘the elaboration of a new humanism which this time will include all of humanity on the whole of our planet earth’, the festival constituted a highly symbolic moment in the era of decolonization and the push for civil rights for black people in the United States. In essence, the festival sought to perform an emerging Pan-African culture, that is, to give concrete cultural expression to the ties that would bind the newly liberated African ‘homeland’ to black people in the diaspora. This volume is the first sustained attempt to provide not only an overview of the festival itself but also of its multiple legacies, which will help us better to understand the ‘festivalization’ of Africa that has occurred in recent decades with most African countries now hosting a number of festivals as part of a national tourism and cultural development strategy.

'A terrific book that combines an impressive range of both new and emerging voices with leading international specialists located in transnational settings, and that will be of tremendous relevance to students and scholars in fields as diverse as cultural studies, performance studies, French and Francophone Studies, History and African Studies.'
Dominic Thomas

‘This book provides an in-depth analysis of an event that marked its era and resonates in ours and inspires others to take its ideas forward in new and unexpected directions.'
Yohann C. Ripert, Research in African Literatures

Author Information

David Murphy is Head of the School of Humanities at the University of Strathclyde.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
List of Figures9
Notes on Contributors11
I Contexts65
1. ‘The Real Heart of the Festival’: The Exhibition of L’Art nègre at the Musée Dynamique67
2. Dance at the 1966 World Festival of Negro Arts: Of ‘Fabulous Dancers’ and Negritude Undermined86
3. Staging Culture: Senghor, Malraux and the Theatre Programme at the First World Festival of Negro Arts105
4. Making History: Performances of the Past at the 1966 World Festival of Negro Arts119
5. ‘The Next Best Thing to Being There’: Covering the 1966 Dakar Festival and its Legacy in Black Popular Magazines135
II Legacies153
6. ‘Negritude is Dead’: Performing the African Revolution at the First Pan-African Cultural Festival (Algiers, 1969)155
7. Beyond Negritude: Black Cultural Citizenship and the Arab Question in FESTAC ’77173
8. Cultural Festivals in Senegal: Archives of Tradition, Mediations of Modernity188
9. FESMAN at 50: Pan-Africanism, Visual Modernism and the Archive of the Global Contemporary202
10. PANAFEST: A Festival Complex Revisited216
Books and Films about the 1966 Festival225