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As part of its “BNP Paribas for Art” programme launched in 1994, the BNP Paribas Foundation is joining forces with the Quai Branly Museum to help restore twelve Kanak masks from New Caledonia.
This renowned collection is one of the most noteworthy in Europe. The Quai Branly Museum collection is exceptional in that it has a significant number of complete masks representing all styles from all producing regions. These large (80–200 cm) impressive masks are quite rare and have been studied by numerous French ethnologists.
By supporting this restoration work, the BNP Paribas Foundation is helping to preserve a unique piece of cultural heritage kept by the Quai Branly Museum. As the fragile masks were significantly timework, they required extensive, delicate restoration work. The work carried out, alongside a materials study on the artefacts, allowed scholars to learn more about this important collection.
These masks needed to be restored before being included in the permanent collection of the museum, which has a space dedicated to Kanak culture. They will be unveiled in full in 2013–14 for the exhibition being prepared with New Caledonia, in which the masks will be major exhibits.