Vision & Mission

Voodo temple near Bohicon Benin (1976)

In view of its significance, verbal art must be preserved as part of the intangible heritage of a culture. But the cultural heritage of the past should be given back to the people living today. The stories can contribute to a better understanding and a development of today’s social and cultural fabric.

The Verbal Art Foundation aims to contribute to the preservation of Verbal Art and focuses on Verbal Art from Africa.

The foundation’s goals are to contribute to the preservation of Verbal Art expressions in Africa in the original language, and to spread the knowledge about the Verbal Art itself and the language, but also the way in which Verbal Art can be recorded, and analysed and understood. The objective is both cultural and educational. The Foundation is non-profit making.The Verbal Art Foundation Foundation wants to achieve this by:

  • Recording, analyzing and publishing of verbal art performances.
  • Researching existing and new recordings of verbal art texts
  • Using reliable methods and new techniques to record text and store verbal art
  • Supporting projects that gives the verbal art of the ancestors back to the people of today.

The Foundation is actively looking for projects that can be supported by fundraising and by organising adequate support. At present the Verbal Art Foundation focuses on:

  • Publishing of verbal art performances that have been recorded in the past but have not yet been translated and published.
  • Giving back projects (reversal projects) that aim to return the recorded verbal art to the society they originally come from in one way or another. This can be in print or as audio files to be broadcast by radio.
  • Training projects and contributions to summer school workshops.
  • Providing access to the digitised corpus Voodooo stories of the Fon people of West-Africa, stored at the Language Archive of the Max Planck Institute.

T H E  V E R B A L  A R T  F O U N D A T I O N
A registered charity organisation in the Netherlands (ANBI)