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Place of Africa - Expo Montreal 1967

Place of Africa at the Exhibition Expo Montreal 1967
© expo67
Architect(s) : John Andrews

The Place of Africa is ideally located and is bordered by canals on three sides. The landscaping is an integral part of the whole. The colourful square is slightly stepped, entirely paved with red bricks and decorated here and there with tropical trees and shrubs. Small red brick pavilions with yellow and white roofs surround it.

Flagpoles with flags stand in front of the pavilions. The Place of Africa, a very flexible area, is equipped with snack bars and terrace bars with tables topped with brightly coloured parasols. A lounge in a special building is available to the sectional Commissioners-General, their deputies and their guests. This lounge is also used for press conferences and various events.

In the Place of Africa, countries have the opportunity to express their own character and culture in a separate pavilion. Together, they form a remarkable panorama of modern Africa. Fifteen countries are present. They are Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Togo.

The very attractive Place of Africa is a revelation to the public, with one area devoted to an exhibition of paintings by school children. This exhibition was set up in conjunction with the African Institute for Education and Humanism. What generally makes the strongest impression is the artistry of the African people, their handicrafts, their dances, their sense of rhythm and music. The dazzling national costumes are also admired.

The extraordinary diversity of the African regions is illustrated by the presentations. Countries of oceans, giant rivers, cataracts, huge lakes, steppes, high mountains and forests, they possess infinite natural wealth: fisheries, agriculture, livestock and wildlife, textile plants, precious woods, white coal, mineral deposits.

Art is another richness and young Africa presents works of masters in painting, tapestry, sculpture and jewellery.

Among the greatest artists who have been involved in the decoration of the pavilions are Diouf Moussa and Charles Mwenze, who have executed extraordinary frescoes in the pavilion of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Maître Combes with his sculptures and Christian Lattier with his original compositions made of rope, both from the Ivory Coast; the painters Bou Diouf and Papa Didi Diop from Senegal. In the pavilion of the latter country, one can admire the rich tapestries of Papa Ibra Tall, who has also executed remarkable paintings for the pavilion on the theme Man in the City.

So many sculptures and art objects of all kinds are on display but are not signed! Their authors are great anonymous artists of whom Africa has reason to be proud.

On the other hand, small-scale industry is honoured with pieces of ceramics, basketry, objects of everyday use, leather, furniture, hammered and chiselled copper, collections of weapons, sumptuous fabrics and furs. Visitors can admire the craftsmen at work.

Black Africa is showing many other aspects of its activity, including the improvement of social conditions and the expansion of the economy. It displays samples of its raw and finished products, as it is no longer confined to the production of raw materials but has more and more processing plants.

Through photographs, slides, films and models, the visitor can admire port facilities, large modern cities, beaches and other places of tourism and recreation, small picturesque villages. They can take part in a safari and see the magnificent landscapes of a continent with a thousand tourist attractions. Many countries have major railways, excellent road networks and modern airports.

Africa is also moving forward in education and culture. It has its writers and especially its poets; does it not have them among its heads of state? It has its institutions of higher learning. It has the art of marrying the forces of man with those of nature.

© Expo67 - General Report