By showcasing Picasso’s works alongside African art pieces, the historic exhibition highlighted the artist’s attraction to African art while celebrating France’s cultural partnership with the continent. The Picasso and Quai Branly museums in Paris lent 29 priceless works of art for the occasion. These precious pieces made their way to Senegal under heavy guard.
A logistical feat
The AGS Senegal team deftly oversaw their import, coordinated their transport to the museum, and ensured that all other logistical aspects went off without a hitch.
“Transporting art requires very specific know-how,” explains Nathalie Jeanneau, Director of the AGS Africa network. “The works are fragile, unique and of tremendous value. They must travel in a temperature-controlled environment of 20 degrees, so we transported them in refrigerated trucks with thermal blankets. We also made sure that the time spent at the airport was kept to a minimum.”
A moving operation conducted under high surveillance
To ensure their protection, the crates containing the works were transported to the museum immediately upon their arrival without being opened or inspected by customs, an operation which required high-level authorisation from the Senegalese authorities. Instead, the police and customs accompanied the works to their destination and inspected them two days later, once they had acclimatised to the local conditions. Officials from the French embassy and Senegalese government representatives were on hand to witness the opening of the crates.
After the exhibition’s conclusion in June, the artworks had to be crated and sealed in the presence of the AGS Senegal team. The police then escorted them back to the airport, where they remained under high security until they arrived back in Paris. “To coordinate everything and ensure real-time tracking, we were connected at all times. It was a very interesting and memorable experience,” confirms Aline Badiane, AGS Senegal’s sales representative.
A success on every level
The exhibition, which coincided with the Biennale of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, was a remarkable success. An exhibition of this scale is rare on the African continent, and the public and the media appreciated that artworks of universal heritage were on display in Senegal.
The experience was also an enormous success organisationally speaking. “The Goat” and “The Weeping Woman” delighted Senegalese aficionados and it is expected that the exhibition will encourage more cultural collaborations of this nature between France and Africa.
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