Culture Crush: Rugby as Fine Art
As France gears up to host the Rugby World Cup, one museum is making a play for the eyes and ears of visiting fans:
To coincide with the September 7 to October 20 tournament, the Quai Branly museum is hosting rugby-related exhibits, visits and round tables with archaeologists, historians, sociologists and former players. The museum also covered its roof over with green turf and turned it into a mock playing field with a close-up view of the Eiffel Tower.
"Rugby is actually very close to what we're showing here," said Pierre Hanotaux, the general director of the museum, which is normally devoted to the so-called primitive arts of Africa, Asia, the Americas and Oceania.
If that seems like a stretch, he adds: "We can't kid ourselves. It's also our way of bringing in people who never come to museums, because they find museums boring."
The first event of La Melee des Cultures (Scrum of Cultures) comes on Saturday, with a day of conferences ranging from rugby's origins to how the body works during a match.
One highlight throughout the programme is workshops on the ritual tattoos of cultures in the Pacific. Other workshops will teach the haka, the traditional Maori war dance that New Zealand's All Blacks perform. The All Blacks, the World Cup favourites, do the haka before the kick-off, chanting and stomping on the field.