Kawaguchi: Before answering the second question, I like to make it certain that museums of art are quite different from museums of ethnology.  Museums of art have been originally expected to cover only fine arts, which are supposed to be cultural phenomena specifically seen exclusively in the West, while museums of ethnology are supposed to cover widely non-Western cultures.  And in my experience, this difference or gap between the two kind of museums are more clearly seen in countries outside Europe.

If we examine the history of museums in the West since late 18th century a little carefully, it will be clear that when any cultural phenomena appear from non-Western cultural areas, the West, or Europe soon tries to pick them up as specimens to be kept in a small space at the corner of an ethnological museum.  So, for example, in case of any African contemporary artists, the West first tried to collect some of them, exhibiting their works in ethnological museums.     But recently, with a general increase of critical voices from Africa and elsewhere, the museums, perhaps not so willingly, have begun to accept to treat works by African artists as artworks, exhibiting them in spaces of art museums.

However, still today, African artists are often exhibited in group shows.  That is, it is quite difficult to have an opportunity of seeing a one-man exhibition of black African artists.   I have to admit that here in Japan, a general environment surrounding art museums does not easily permit for curators to organize one-man exhibition for an individual black African artist. For me, it looks as if some of museums of art outside Africa avoid accepting African artists as equal individuals.

Anyhow, in spite of recent efforts by some active curators, we should say that African art and artists are still left between art history and cultural anthropology, between museums of ethnology and art galleries/art museums.

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