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Las­caux and Africa at Sci-Bono Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre.

In a first for Africa, the Sci-Bono Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre in Jo­han­nes­burg, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the French Em­bassy in Pre­to­ria and the French In­sti­tute of South Africa (IFAS), have brought a replica of the world-fa­mous Las­caux cave paint­ings and the cave it­self to South Africa.

The Palae­olithic cave paint­ings are around 17 000 years old and are mostly of large an­i­mals na­tive to the re­gion at the time. They are re­garded as mas­ter­pieces be­cause of their out­stand­ing qual­ity and so­phis­ti­ca­tion.

The Las­caux cave paint­ings were dis­cov­ered in 1940 when a group of teenage boys stum­bled upon them in the Dor­dogne re­gion in south­west­ern France. The site was opened to the pub­lic in 1948 and gained al­most in­stant fame. More than a mil­lion people have vis­ited the orig­i­nal cave since its open­ing and, by 1955, car­bon monox­ide, the heat and hu­mid­ity of so many visi­tors had vis­i­bly dam­aged the art­works. De­te­ri­o­rat­ing con­di­tions caused fungi and lichen to grow on the walls.

The cave was closed in 1963 to pro­tect the price­less art­work. Las­caux was added to the UNESCO list of World Her­itage Sites in 1979. To­day, ex­tremely lim­ited ac­cess is al­lowed to test for air qual­ity only and to mon­i­tor the con­di­tion of the cave.

In the Las­caux Ex­hi­bi­tion, the work is shown as ac­cu­rate, life-size and hand­made repli­cas. Spe­cial light­ing en­ables visi­tors to ad­mire the mas­ter­pieces. The ex­hi­bi­tion fo­cuses on the five pan­els of the Las­caux Nave (the Great Black Cow, The Stags, the Crossed Bi­son, the Im­print) and the Shaft Scene.

The replica amazes and fills with awe ev­ery­one who sees it. It’s an ex­act re­pro­duc­tion of more than 2 000 fig­ures painted on the walls of the caves. They are on show at the Sci-Bono Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre un­til 1 Oc­to­ber 2018, along­side pre­his­toric South African rock art, for a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with hu­man­ity’s ear­li­est im­pulse for cre­ative ex­pres­sion.

The world’s first ex­am­ples of art and sym­bol­ism, found in South­ern Africa, are more than 100 000 years old, while

Europe is home to some of the world’s most well­p­re­served pre­his­toric cave-art sites.

This will be the first time that the Las­caux paint­ings will be ex­hib­ited along­side the old­est African art, cel­e­brat­ing the ear­li­est works cre­ated by hu­mans on two con­ti­nents.

The Las­caux and African rock paint­ings have much in com­mon and point to one es­sen­tial truth: there’s more that unites and binds us as people and cul­tures than there is that di­vides us.

The South African com­po­nent of the ex­hi­bi­tion, The Dawn of Art, is cu­rated by the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand’s Rock Art Re­search In­sti­tute, the Ori­gins Cen­tre and IFASRecherche. It will include pho­to­graphs of iconic South African rock art, as well as a dis­play of price­less au­then­tic pieces.

The Las­caux cave replica was metic­u­lously recre­ated us­ing ma­te­ri­als and tools iden­ti­cal to those that the orig­i­nal artists used about 17 000 years ago.

Located in the historic Elec­tric Work­shop at the cor­ner of Miriam Makeba and He­len Joseph Streets in the cul­tural precinct of New­town, Jo­han­nes­burg, the Sci-Bono Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre is South­ern Africa’s largest sci­ence cen­tre.

Tick­ets for The Won­ders of Rock Art: Las­caux and Africa at Sci-Bono Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre are R70 for chil­dren and R130 for adults, with spe­cial fam­ily pack­ages avail­able. For more in­for­ma­tion, please visit www.sci­

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