It is a scenic walk along the driveway leading to the entrance of Lome’s new centre for the arts. Past the crisp white walls and pivoting glass doors are the exhibition spaces – a blank canvas for African art by painters such as Emmanuel Sogbadji and Edwige Aplogan and sculptures by Sokey Edorh. A vaulted, wood-ceilinged corridor on the first floor leads to a room filled with a panoply of artefacts sourced from the region. There are intricately woven ceremonial gowns and beaded headdresses worn by chieftains and West African kings. The centre’s remit is not limited to the promotion of pan-African art and culture, according to its Togolese director, Sonia Lawson. Spread across some 2,400sq metres of land, Palais De Lome will showcase the country’s natural resources. The site’s varied landscape includes a garden of sea plants from the coastal city’s sandy shores, grass savannah with vegetation as diverse as palms, cacti and flowering plants, and forests populated by trees and vines. Lawson says the institute expects to attract between 100,000 and 130,000 visitors each year.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA