Fondation BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas Foundation sponsors “Kanak, l’Art est une parole” exhibition and funds the restoration of 12 Kanak masks.

The BNP Paribas Foundation has funded the restoration of 12 Kanak masks held in the musée du quai Branly as part of its BNP Paribas for Art programme.

These rare and impressive masks are large, complex constructions made of many different materials that are symbolically important in Kanak culture: hair, wood, feather and fibre cloaks, etc. As the fragile masks were significantly timeworn, they required extensive, delicate restoration work in the Museum’s Restoration Department. The restoration, performed in conjunction with a study of the materials, has allowed scholars to learn more about this important collection, preserving a unique piece of cultural heritage which will go on public display.

Now restored, a selection of the masks will feature in a temporary exhibition of Kanak art entitled "Kanak, l’Art est une parole"at the musée du quai Branly from October 15th, 2013 to January 26th, 2014 and then at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia. With more than 300 exceptional artefacts on display – many of which have never been seen by the public – this exhibition will be the most significant showcase of Kanak culture in the past 20 years. It will provide visitors with artistic and anthropological insights into this ancient and little-known culture. After the exhibition in Paris and Noumea, the Kanak masks will be displayed on a rotating basis in the musée du quai Branly's permanent collection.

mask - Click to enlarge, open in a new window
mask © musée du quai Branly, photo by Cyril Zannettacci / Fondation BNP Paribas

About the BNP Paribas Foundation

Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the BNP Paribas Foundation endeavours to preserve and promote the artistic treasures of museums, to encourage creators and performers in disciplines that rarely attract aid from corporate support programs and to fund research programs in high technology sectors such as medical and environmental research. It also supports projects aimed at promoting education and social integration.