Welcome to the African Heritage Documentation & Research Centre (AHDRC). Our mission is to assist further research on Classical sub-Saharan African Heritage, by creating an online platform offering a state-of-the-art photo archive of both published and unpublished African art. Our main objective is to register all existing knowledge about the African Cultural Heritage. As a lot of this knowledge is very scattered, it is our wish to offer a single access-point to all this data.

This is a work in process and the database houses since 2020 over 170.000 unique objects. These images of African are art drawn from private and museum collections, dealers, general archives, and the existing body of literature including books, articles, notices, and auction catalogues. The database may be searched by country, cultural group, object type, and many other fields enabling the user to do specific searches. The database may only be used for research purposes.

It is our goal to encourage scientific research by making our platform available to as broad as possible public. Institutions like schools, research centres, universities and specialists can use our platform for free. Other interested parties may consult AHDRC under certain conditions.

To expand our digital database, we process information from the public domain and private archives. We are currently integrating this data on our platform and add functionalities such as UEO’s (Unidentified Ethnic Objects), workshop recognition, origin determination and indigenous names.

The database solicits images from collectors of photographs and/or objects who would like to include their collections. It should be noted that AHDRC makes no claims to authenticity of the objects illustrated (by any definition of the term "authentic," and the inclusion or exclusion of an image is at the sole discretion of AHDRC.

The archive will also include opinions (including those concerning authenticity) in the Archive database submitted by third parties, at AHDRC's discretion.

We expect that this will provide a forum that will be useful to all researchers.

In this working phase, we ask visiting researchers using the Archive to exchange their own images and expertise from their fields of study in order to enlarge and refine the Archive and database for future users.

Please note that AHDRC does not control rights and reproductions for the photographs in the batabse. Persons seeking permission to publish or otherwise reproduce an image should contact the photo source.

Next to our main mission we have some ambitious aspirations for 2020 and onward:

  • Due to our in-depth expertise on archiving we would like to share this with African Institutions. Help them archive their collection and offer free hosting space on our platform.
  • The archive retains a vast quantity of raw information perfect for academic research. However this information could be used perfectly to build an educational surrogate platform for schools to teach the youth about the rich traditions hailing from sub-Saharan Africa.

Do you also support AHDRC?

While we work pro bono, financial aid is currently needed to achieve our goals. The main costs are server management, the acquisition of private photo archives, the buying of new books.

Thanks to your patronage we can continue our work and achieve our mission. This patronage is much needed!