Friday, 26 June 2015

Art Exhibit at the National Museum

The Accountability Lab organised an art exhibit around the theme of - yes, you guessed it - accountability. It was held at the National Museum.

I found myself quite surprised to realise that despite living here since 2003 I've never visited the Museum. It was a pleasant visit and, I was really glad to go. 

The exhibition was held at the top floor. 

Some of the paintings were basic and a little bit amateurish (can you believe this is a word?), especially in terms of artistic technique and, even artistic expression. 

Visitors enjoying the paintings. Haresh chatting with eminent Liberian artist Leslie Lumeh.
Kavita keenly listens to t
he conversation. 

Painting of two students reading by candle light 
"Sleeping Secretary" by Leslie Lumeh. 
One of my favorites at the exhibition.
"Every day Thin"
I bought two paintings, one a Leslie Lumeh "Law Breaker" and the other one more like a political cartoon. I wanted to buy another one - a fantastical historical mural that featured the who is who of Liberia's infamous history -  but another visitor started a bidding war and bought it for $ 300.00. 

I also had a look at photographs of Liberia downstairs on the first floor . Most of the pictures were from before the war. I was quite surprised to see that many of Monrovia's buildings looked exactly the same. I have no idea why I thought pre-war Monrovia had more stunning buildings. Haresh actually casually mentioned this a few times, too. 

One of my friends described a photograph I posted on Facebook (also on my blog) of a new construction in Mamba Point as "Classical Lebano." By the way, the construction is still not completed. 

Nevertheless, there are still some interesting buildings in downtown Monrovia, not only the colonial ones but also some from the 70s. I wish some of the very old colonial buildings could be preserved and turned into public spaces such as libraries, community art centers or museums. Even a boutique hotel would be welcome.

Speaking of the city, the nicer parts of town like Sinkor and Mamba Point have become gentrified by the NGO/UN folks. This has crowded out ordinary Liberians who simply cannot afford to live in town. There are "compounds" all over the place. These gated communities are typically fully furnished apartment blocks (quite ugly looking usually) with 24/7 power and water, DSTV and wifi internet. And, they must always have a pool. Rent at these places is anything from $ 1200 to a whopping $ 5,000 per month. 

To think that the capital city is busy housing a constantly churning and changing horde of do gooders, the development workers, who are not from the city or country, and are not committed beyond a contract

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