Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Trade in African Cultural Property: "Je ne suis pas moi-même" (2007)

Je ne suis pas moi-même is a 52 minute Spanish 2007 documentary film produced by Nanouk Films which explores complex international African ethnic art market. Mysterious figurines pass from hand to hand, crossing continents and changing in value and meaning. The film concentrates on the  movement of objects from Cameroon, and reveals how Cameroon has become a paradise for art forgers and traffickers and is related to corruption. It also shows how African artworks are spirited away to end up in Europe's leading public and private collections, where they come from, and how they arrive in the showcases of the biggest galleries and collections in Europe. It also explores who decides how much each piece is worth in this post-colonial context. In Europe there's a market needy of new ethnic art pieces. In Africa they’re in need of economical resources, some are willing to sell their cultural legacy or even fake it if need be. The limits of authenticity grow blurry when sacred objects are sold by those who adored them a very short time ago.

Directed by Alba Mora & Anna Sanmartí
Producer: Ventura Durall
Screenplay by Alba Mora, Anna Sanmartí
Starring Jonas Njifouta, Ahmadou Mboumbou, Fabien Essiane
Music by Pol Ponsarnau
Editing by Vep Culleré

Watch the documentary: Je ne suis pas moi-même
Shortened trailer

Comments by  David Norden

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