"African art serves to remind and teach founding myths of human communities, to ensure good social behavior, to fight against any type of social misconduct and to thrive for social harmony between humans"
Dr. Martin Sigam, opening of the exhibition “Couleurs d’Afrique”,
Palais des Nations (UN), October 2013, Geneva
Eager to share with the world the amazing civilizational contributions of Africa's peoples through the arts, Dr. Sigam and his wife created in 1991 the Panafrican Art Association (PAA). They did so with the help of fellow members of the African diaspora in Switzerland including Dr. Hermine Meido, Dr. Paul Gabriel Anafack, Mr. Wane, Prof. Eya Nchama Cruz Melchior, Mr. François and Mrs. Martine Djoungong, and Mr. Gustave Tchougang.
Aware of the growing interest for traditional African art in Europe and the increased need for cultural mediation, they created, with the PAA, a forum for discovery, exchange and sharing about African peoples and cosmogonies.
Under the leadership of Dr. Sigam, a passionate African art collector, the PAA organized dozens of exhibitions in many international institutions, such as the UN (United Nations) and WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), and various public spaces in and around Geneva, like Balexert and Forum de Meyrin.
Beyond exhibitions, the association also held monthly seminars on African art at the University of Geneva between 1991 and 2004, at which many eminent experts, anthropologists and ethnologists shared their knowledge by giving thematic lectures. Following its acclaimed seminar about "traditional African art and medicine, the PAA organized the first symposium on traditional African Medecine in Geneva in 1996. In recognition for all its endeavors, the UNESCO awarded the PAA with the "Decade of Development" prize.