The National Centre for Arts and Culture under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture will Tuesday inaugurate The Gambia’s first ever Kankurang Centre situated at Janjangbureh in the Central River Region.
The Kankurang Centre is a museum established to exhibit not only Kankurang, but other traditional masks of The Gambia. Exhibitions at the Centre are divided into different parts; the first part of the exhibition contextualizes masks as a global phenomenon with particular reference to the traditional masks in the African continent. This section defines masks and its various typologies and traces, history and contributions.
The second part of the exhibition looks into the Mandinka initiatory rite associated with the Kankurang. It traces the history of the Kankurang, identifies the various types of Kankurangs and other Mandinka traditional mask, illustrating their costumes and socio-cultural functions.
The third section of the exhibition looks at other traditional masks found in The Gambia as nearly all ethnic groups in The Gambia are associated with a specific traditional masks.
In brief, the Kankurang which is a Mandinka traditional mask associated with rites of passage, is one of the 43 expressions and cultural species singled out by UNESCO as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible material in 2005.
UNESCO stated that the Mandinka community in The Gambia and some parts of Senegal such as Mbour and some communities in the Casamance regions, practiced the Kankurang tradition.
UNESCO therefore encouraged the two countries to closely work together to have the Kankunrang inscribed into the UNESCO list of masterpieces of the oral and intangible material.
by Yunus S Saliu