Scène de la vie quotidienne dans un village d’Afrique centrale.
© Photo RMN - J.-G. Berizzi - Droits réservés
The Paris Colonial Exhibition (or “Exposition coloniale internationale”, International Colonial Exhibition) was a six-month colonial exhibition held in Paris, France in 1931 that attempted to display the diverse cultures and immense resources of France’s colonial possessions.
The Togo and Cameroun section of the exhibition included the reproduction of a chief’s hut and two pavilions displaying arts and artefacts about tourism, hunting, teaching and the French social policies in these colonies. In this painting, exhibited on one of the pavilion, Herviault represented the ‘primitive’ life of the autochtones, busy with traditionnal activities. He approached the scene with an ethnographical point of view, which differed from the basic colonial propaganda : he was interested in depicting the cultural aspects of the local culture, and not so much in promoting the ressources or the luxury of the land. But he still subscribed to the colonialist theories of France bringing civilisation to its colonies.