Set up in Amsterdam, in 1983, at the instigation of its current President, Michel Leveau, the Olfert Dapper Foundation takes its name from a xviith-century Dutch humanist who, despite never leaving his native country, wrote an encyclopaedic Description of Africa, first published in 1668.
The purpose of this private non-profit organisation is to raise the profile of sub-Saharan Africa's artistic heritage and contribute to its conservation, by staging exhibitions and awarding research bursaries.
Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau was born in French Guiana, but moved to France at the age of three.
She studied French language and literature at the University of Paris-X Nanterre, attending lectures by Maryse Condé and Jacques Chevrier on Black-African literature.
The subject of her master's degree in literature was the Griot character in French-language Black-African drama.
Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau spent three years working as an advertising assistant for the Éditions Masson publishing house.
From 1979 to 1983, she worked as a journalist specializing in French-language African literature for Radio France Internationale and a variety of magazines.
In December 1983, she and her husband Michel Leveau founded the Dapper Foundation. She subsequently wrote Supports de rêve (1989) and Corps Sublimes (1994).
As well as curating many exhibitions, Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau has co-written most of the accompanying publications, including Arts d'Afrique (winner of the 2001 SNA Art Book Award), published jointly with Gallimard, and is also the author of Kalita, a children's picture book illustrated by Philippe Davaine (Éditions Dapper, autumn 2005).
Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau was on the Musée du quai Branly steering committee from 1999 to the end of 2004 and is a member of the Committee for the Memory of Slavery (CPME), set up on January 5th 2004.
BANGWA - CAMEROON
Wood and pigments. H.: 85 cm
Collected in 1897-1898 by Gustav Conrau
and brought back to Europe in 1899
Former collections of Arthur Speyer,
Charles Ratton, Helena Rubinstein and Harry A. Franklin
Musée Dapper, Paris. Inv. no. 3343
© Musée Dapper - photo Hughes Dubois.