So, back to the Living Cultures gallery. This time I decided to watch some of those films. I'm one of those people that never watches films in galleries. Partly this is impatience - I like to experience things in my own time, and partly because I spend enough of life staring at a screen - when I go to a museum I want to stare through glass at stuff.
Anyway, the films were well worth watching. I heard about a man stabbed through the heart by a thrown Sudanese spear after a property dispute, I learned about Kente cloth and Mohawk beadwork. I also heard the tale of a prince of Benin who travelled with his people and founded the Kingdom of Warri.
There's a wonderful carved Elephant tusk which was dedicated to a Benin ruler or Oba who was exiled by the British in 1897, just about the same time as this tusk was taken as it happens. Exile's a word that always brings a chill to my heart. I remember Mobray in Richard 2. "Now my tongue's use is to me no more than an unstringed viol or a harp.... What is they sentence then but speechless death, which robs my tongue from breathing native breath."
There's a lot of heartache behind the glass at a museum.
In the meantime I'm trying to find out more about this prince of Benin and the Kingdom of Warra. Sometimes people are better than Google, so I'm hoping to speak to a curator soon - and I'm really hoping I'll be able to get in touch with someone from that culture to hear their experiences and stories.