African Renaissance Monument (French: Le Monument de la
Renaissance Africaine) is a 49 meter tall bronze statue located on top
of one of the twin hills known as Collines des Mamelles, outside
Dakar, Senegal. Built overlooking the
Atlantic Ocean in the Ouakam
suburb, the statue was designed by the Senegalese architect Pierre
Goudiaby after an idea presented by president
Abdoulaye Wade and built
by Mansudae Overseas Projects, a company from North Korea. Site
preparation on top of the 100-meter high hill began in 2006, and
construction of the bronze statue began 3 April 2008. Originally
scheduled for completion in December 2009, delays stretched into early
2010, and the formal dedication occurred on 4 April 2010, Senegal's
"National Day", commemorating the 50th anniversary of the country's
independence from France. It is the tallest statue in Africa.
3.4 Local artists
4 See also
The monument while being constructed
The monument is made of 3-centimetre thick metal sheets and depicts a
family group emerging from a mountaintop: a full-length statue of a
young woman, a man, and held aloft on the man's raised left arm, a
child resolutely pointing west towards the sea. Construction of the
bronze statue group was carried out by the North Korean firm Mansudae
Overseas Project Group of Companies.
The project was launched by then Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade
who considered it part of Senegal's prestige projects, aimed at
providing monuments to herald a new era of African Renaissance.
On 3 April 2010, the
African Renaissance Monument was unveiled in
Dakar in front of 19 African heads of state, including President of
Malawi and the
African Union Bingu wa Mutharika,
Jean Ping of the
African Union Commission and the Presidents of Benin, Cape Verde,
Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Liberia, Mali,
Zimbabwe, as well as representatives from North Korea, and Jesse
Jackson and musician Akon, both from the United States, all of whom
were given a tour.
President Wade said "It brings to life our common destiny. Africa has
arrived in the 21st century standing tall and more ready than ever to
take its destiny into its hands". President Bingu said "This
monument does not belong to Senegal. It belongs to the African people
wherever we are".
Thousands of people protested against "all the failures of President
Wade's regime, the least of which is this horrible statue" on the
city's streets beforehand, with riot police deployed to maintain
control. Deputy leader of the opposition Ndeye Fatou Toure
described the monument as an "economic monster and a financial scandal
in the context of the current [economic] crisis".
The colossal statue has been criticized for its cost at US$ 27 million
(£16.6m). The payment was made in kind, with 30 to 40 hectares of
land that will be sponsored by a Senegalese businessman.
Senegalese opposition leaders also questioned the style of the
project, while art critics argued that the body shapes are
cartoon-like, with only vaguely African facial features. It was
also suggested that the monument is a stark representation of the
macho sexism of African authoritarian rulers. The statue's design
was derided internationally because of false claims of its Senegalese
origin, actually having been designed by a Romanian architect and
built by a North Korean sculpting company famous for various projects
and large statues throughout Africa since the 1970s. It was a
poorly received piece by art critics around the world after its
much-delayed unveiling in 2010 and was compared by some to the
infamous (and once-abandoned)
Christopher Columbus statue project that
was unveiled in
Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Arecibo, Puerto Rico in 2016. Local imams argued
that a statue depicting a human figure is idolatrous and objected to
the perceived immodesty of the semi-nude male and female figures.
In December 2009, President
Abdoulaye Wade apologised to Senegal's
Christian minority for comparing the statue to Jesus Christ.
The project has also attracted controversy due to Wade's claim to the
intellectual property rights of the statue, and insisting that he is
entitled to 35 percent of the profits raised. Opposition figures
have sharply criticised Wade's plan to claim intellectual property
rights, insisting that the president cannot claim copyright over ideas
conceived as a function of his public office.
Ousmane Sow, a world-renowned Senegalese sculptor, also objected to
the use of North Korean builders, saying it was anything but a symbol
African Renaissance and nothing to do with art.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
African Renaissance Monument.
Mansudae Overseas Projects
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