Gabon Expo is an exhibition currently showing in Libreville and covering five central topics: Gabonese prehistory at the heart of Africa, the richness of Gabonese flaura and fauna today, the ritual diversity in song, dance and maks of the 50 ethnic groups that make up Gabon, independence and the State today, and finally, modern art and design. The exhibition is well thought out, and I really had fun learning about this country, together with many Gabonese for whom it was also a chance to discover their own heritage (www.legabon.org). For example, the Sugar Loaf in Rio de Janeiro and the so called “Inselberg” in the Minkébé area I will be working in, are of the same geological period, and were part of the same formation before the continents split.
Libreville itself has truly lived up to being the paradox of developed and developing this week, an example being that you can drink the tap water without any problems, but we also had a water cut for a day and a half starting last Monday. One of the crazier things that happened this week was meeting a Gabonese documentary maker, Luc, who studied in Germany (Darmstadt) and has just spent three days with the Baka in order to make a TV film on them. I bumped into Luc on the street after a jazz concert at the French Cultural Centre.
But more importantly, if everything goes to plan, I will be heading off to my field site and finally meeting the Baka myself this week. I have been busy trying to learn more of the Baka language, which is as complex and rich as any of the European languages (trust me, I would be happy if this were not the case). I will be travelling to two places, Minvoul and Makokou in North-Eastern Gabon, to find out whether I can work in both, or only in one. This pre-study will take about three to four weeks. So excited to see how this project is developing …
If u want to know more about the exhibition, checkout http://www.legabon.org