IFAN Museum of African Arts – Dakar, Senegal - Atlas Obscura

Dakar, Senegal

IFAN Museum of African Arts

Dakar is home to one of the oldest African art institutions in West Africa. 

Seminal artworks and artifacts from Mali, the Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, and beyond inhabit the l’Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN Museum of African Arts) in the Senegalese capital.

The museum’s noteworthy collection presents an important glimpse into West African history and the visual cultures that comprise this region. Ritual masks, instruments, clothing, and weapons occupy the IFAN Museum, one of the oldest and most prominent institutions dedicated to the research and exhibition of West African art and artifacts.

Founded in 1936, the museum was formerly entitled Le Musée d’Art Africain de L’Institute Fondamental d’Afrique Noire Cheikh Anta Diop IFAN/CAD and then The Théodore Monod African Art Museum (named after the French naturalist Théodore Monod). Its establishment was notably supported by the first Senegalese president, Léopold Senghor, who served between 1960 and 1980.

Today, the IFAN Museum also serves as the principal site of the Dakar Biennale (also referred to as Dak’Art and the Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain), a Dakar-based bi-annual exhibition of contemporary African art in operation since 1996.

Know Before You Go

The IFAN Museum of African Arts is open to the public from Tuesday through Sunday, 9 am until 5 pm.

Community Discussion