Face to Face with Heritage
From Africa as an Icon of Italian Colonial Consciousness to the Contemporary Enhancement of Cultural Diversity Through the Cipriani Mask Collection
This paper’s aim is to present a project for the enhancement of a collection from that period, Cipriani’s masks, that is on display at the University of Bologna’s Museum of Anthropology, by engaging with the system of representation that prevailed in anthropology at the time, and the issue of its legitimacy. The specific focus of this paper is to present the hypothesis of a project titled Ex: the Dialectical Paradigm of Enhancement based on the interpenetration of contraries. This project consists of three parts: extinction (the object’s past), extension (the object’s present) and the exhibition as a dialectical synthesis. Themes touched on include the negotiations between physical anthropologist and cultural anthropologist on the politic of enhancement of the collection and the common interest to go beyond the concept of racism.