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‘Zaïrian Authenticity’

SOMETHING NEW SLIPPED THROUGH New York, went on to Washington, and is heading for the West Coast without proper notice being taken. The exhibition “Art from Zaïre, 100 Masterworks from the National Collection” is significant for the objects it brings us, but even more so because it shows a black African nation exporting its art (temporarily) for ideological, political and probably economic reasons. This exhibition, organized by New York’s African-American Institute and circulated by the American Federation of Arts, is made up entirely of objects collected in the past five years in Zaïre. In the name of a new political philosophy, Authenticity, Zaïre has initiated a program to document her ancient traditional cultures.

At the time of independence in 1960, Congo-Léopoldville, as the former Belgian colony was then called, was unusual in having a chain of museums in various cities, all with

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