Advanced search
1 file | 2.60 MB

Revisiting the façade of Marché Kermel: a tripartite invented tradition

(2016) ARCHITEXT. 5. p.48-63
Author
Organization
Abstract
The celebrated phrase 'the invention of tradition' has been originally coined and explained by Eric Hobsbawm in his 1983 ‘Introduction’ for his co-edited volume under this rubric. It had an immediate impact within the social and political sciences, disseminated into the architectural research only after more than a decade. With regard to the African context, this phrase has not only been used quite recently, but it referred almost exclusively to the built heritage of the French in North Africa. By bringing sub-Saharan Africa into the fore, this article critically examines the unique architectural style of the façade of Marché Kermel in Dakar, Senegal. Our analysis uncovers a process of an invention of tradition to which three formalistic layers could be assigned. Replacing the initial modest shed, the structure of Kermel was inaugurated by the French in 1910 in the heart of the colonial city center and port. The importation of neo-Moorish elements – which so far were only implemented in French North Africa – into the sub-Saharan environment were salient in Kermel. As such, these visual elements evoke questions as to the French contemporary aesthetical conceptions and political motives. At the same time, these elements reflect a bipartite process of invented tradition: the use of the typically North African neo-Moorish colonial style; and the transmission of this style, for the first time, to West Africa. Moreover, since the postcolonial period, a third layer of invented tradition can be assigned to Kermel's façade. Following the complete destruction of the market by fire in 1993, independent Senegal promoted its reconstruction as a replica of the previous colonial version – a complex endeavor on both technical and interpretational levels. Retracing this tripartite architectural heritage implies on the intimate connections between visual representations and (post-)colonial policies, politics and ideologies.
Keywords
façade, colonial ideologies., (post-)colonial architecture, Marché Kermel, invented tradition, Senegal

Downloads

  • (...).pdf
    • full text
    • |
    • UGent only
    • |
    • PDF
    • |
    • 2.60 MB

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

Chicago
Bigon, Liora, Luce Beeckmans, and Alain Sinou. 2016. “Revisiting the Façade of Marché Kermel: a Tripartite Invented Tradition.” Architext 5: 48–63.
APA
Bigon, L., Beeckmans, L., & Sinou, A. (2016). Revisiting the façade of Marché Kermel: a tripartite invented tradition. ARCHITEXT, 5, 48–63.
Vancouver
1.
Bigon L, Beeckmans L, Sinou A. Revisiting the façade of Marché Kermel: a tripartite invented tradition. ARCHITEXT. 2016;5:48–63.
MLA
Bigon, Liora, Luce Beeckmans, and Alain Sinou. “Revisiting the Façade of Marché Kermel: a Tripartite Invented Tradition.” ARCHITEXT 5 (2016): 48–63. Print.
@article{7214358,
  abstract     = {The celebrated phrase 'the invention of tradition' has been originally coined and explained by Eric Hobsbawm in his 1983 ‘Introduction’ for his co-edited volume under this rubric. It had an immediate impact within the social and political sciences, disseminated into the architectural research only after more than a decade. With regard to the African context, this phrase has not only been used quite recently, but it referred almost exclusively to the built heritage of the French in North Africa.           

By bringing sub-Saharan Africa into the fore, this article critically examines the unique architectural style of the façade of Marché Kermel in Dakar, Senegal. Our analysis uncovers a process of an invention of tradition to which three formalistic layers could be assigned. Replacing the initial modest shed, the structure of Kermel was inaugurated by the French in 1910 in the heart of the colonial city center and port. The importation of neo-Moorish elements – which so far were only implemented in French North Africa – into the sub-Saharan environment were salient in Kermel. As such, these visual elements evoke questions as to the French contemporary aesthetical conceptions and political motives. At the same time, these elements reflect a bipartite process of invented tradition: the use of the typically North African neo-Moorish colonial style; and the transmission of this style, for the first time, to West Africa.  

Moreover, since the postcolonial period, a third layer of invented tradition can be assigned to Kermel's façade. Following the complete destruction of the market by fire in 1993, independent Senegal promoted its reconstruction as a replica of the previous colonial version – a complex endeavor on both technical and interpretational levels. Retracing this tripartite architectural heritage implies on the intimate connections between visual representations and (post-)colonial policies, politics and ideologies.},
  author       = {Bigon, Liora and Beeckmans, Luce and Sinou, Alain},
  issn         = {2412-656X},
  journal      = {ARCHITEXT},
  keywords     = {façade,colonial ideologies.,(post-)colonial architecture,Marché Kermel,invented tradition,Senegal},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {48--63},
  title        = {Revisiting the façade of Marché Kermel: a tripartite invented tradition},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2016},
}