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Culture and Safety in Africa

The cities

In Africa the impact of cultural events and public art were studied in South Africa but mainly ignored elsewhere (Edjabe & Pieterse 2010). Many Public Art Policies were enacted: the trend in the late years has been focusing public administrations’ efforts in several critical spots of the city, in order to promote public aggregation and meeting areas, improving actual and perceived safety. Many interventions of public art proved effective on urban requalification and social safety, such as Constitution Hill, a large symbolic space, or the traditional Faraday Muti Market, which both underwent urban renewal through public artworks. Examples at a smaller scale include large sculptures for public spaces. These interventions can be easily described through maps and assessed concerning their impact on the city, while temporary or “immaterial” events are extremely important but difficult to map.

Since 1992, doual’art produced artworks with the active involvement of local communities (Babina & Douala Bell 2007). In Douala some of the side effects were already studied (Simone 1998; Malaquais 2006) and informally analysed by the cultural organisation doual’art. One of the unexpected results was that the local communities lobbied to force the government to renovate the areas where the artworks where located.

Fernando Alvim is the curator and organizer of the Luanda Triennale, which transformed abandoned industrial buildings into exhibitions hall by creating partnerships with local companies, with the precise goal of reaching communities and reducing conflicts in a city devastated by the war (Siegert & Vierke 2008; Pensa 2011).