Madagascar is known for the diversity of its culture and the imagination of its contemporary artists. If you’re an art lover planning a trip to the island, take a look at our pick of the best spots in Antananarivo where you can find out more about art and culture in the capital.
If you want to discover a real taste of Malagasy art and culture, then The Malagasy Cultural Center is a must-visit spot. Located in the quiet square of Antsahavola, it plays a key role in promoting Madagascar’s art and culture with its multidisciplinary activities (temporary exhibitions of traditional culture, classic and contemporary art events, etc). Its outdoor activities include performances of the Malagasy traditional opera known as “hiragasy”, as well as traditional sports like “diamanga”, a martial art, and games like “fanorona”, a strategic game similar to chess.
The French Institute of Madagascar is situated on the historical Independence Avenue in Analakely. Since its inception in 1964, the FIM has played a pivotal role in France’s public diplomacy through a culturally expansive mission of temporary exhibitions and art programmes. Its organisation has also been a key player within the Malagasy artistic, cultural, academic and literary scenes. The FIM acts as an artistic and cultural platform and offers dance, circus, theatre and music. The Institute also offers a space dedicated to new and established local and international artists for temporary exhibitions.
The first Alliance Française was established in Antananarivo in 1947. The Alliance Française network of Madagascar is currently the most important in the world, with its 29 regional “Alliances”. The main activity of the Alliance Française is providing French courses, and it is the only institution able to deliver French as a Foreign Language Degree. In addition to this, the AF of Antananarivo has also become an art and cultural space where exchange is the key word, notably within the recently built outdoor stage and multifunction spaces for arts and culture professionals.
The Goethe Zentrum of Antananarivo has developed an art and cultural platform aside from its German classes, and promotes Germany-Madagascar exchanges in the fields of art and culture. Emerging talents in music, design and drawing come to showcase their works within the tiny but thriving stage and exhibition space of the Goethe Zentrum. During international encounters like Madajazzcar (the international jazz festival), and RFC (the international short film festival), it offers spaces to meet and exchange through concerts, masterclasses and workshops.
Located in the campus of Ankatso University, CRAAM is a multidisciplinary area where you can find flourishing, emerging talents. Its mission is primarily to collect the data of Malagasy artists to help them to become visible to local, regional and international professionals, but the centre has become a sought-after space to showcase works in visual and living arts. Every Wednesday and Friday afternoon, the multifunction room is completely full of students and guests who come to discover the best show of the week. Throughout the week the space is a dedicated to temporary exhibitions.
Founded by Tahina Rakotoarivony, an emerging Malagasy contemporary visual artist, Is’art Galerie is a haven for local and regional contemporary artists. His tastes and personal aspiration set the tone for the gallery programming – eco-design and art recuperation, citizenship and art emerge repeatedly in works showcased or carried out here. The gallery, which also has a café and restaurant, has multiple spaces that expose visitors to the wild world of contemporary art from acclaimed local, regional and international artists.
Established in Antananarivo in February 2018, the Photography Museum of Anjohy is a gallery devoted to photographic archives. Its collection encompasses over 5,000 photographs that document the history of Madagascar from 1860 to 1960. Its mission consists of making these materials available online for re-use – the publication of historic documents is part of the museum’s project. Temporary exhibitions allow the audience to come and visit the museum, while free-access outdoor exhibitions allow those who have a taste for the contemporary to discover current photographers’ works.
Pierrot Men is a renowned Malagasy photographer from Fianarantsoa. Shooting in black and white, his works depict the everyday life of Malagasy people and are a celebration of the beauty of humanity. These captivating and stunning photos are now available in his gallery located in the commercial area of Tana Water Front Ambodivona. Should you be visiting Paris from September 2018 to January 2019, his works will be showcased in Quai Branly Museum in an exhibition entitled Madagascar. Art de la Grande Ile.
With its cutting-edge digital projection technology, the French Institute of Madagascar movie theatre specializes in films from all over the world, including unusual and hard-to-find films. Restored classics, blockbusters, documentaries and films for younger members of the public fill its calendar. Making films available to the public is the main goal of the FIM movie theatre – as a co-producer of the RFC (the international short film festival), the FIM hosts the most important screenings of the festival in April.
The cosy and comfy Cinépax Madagascar hosts mostly foreign films, and of those mainly blockbusters from the US and India. With its four screens, it is the first true multiplex in a country where local movie theatres have been shut down since the 1980s. The theatre presents regular screenings, and also partners with the RFC, hosting part of its competition program.
Founded by the films distributor Canal 7 Vidéo & Events, Plaza Ampefiloha is a sought-after theatre where visitors can find new foreign films mainly from the US. It has about 800 seats and regularly organises special events of classics or animation films, such as the Disney Festival. On occasion there are also Malagasy film screenings.