Out of Africa, the skull and the museum guide


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The Independent Culture

In 1921 at Broken Hill in Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, miners unearthed a skull that would, at last, provide hard evidence that Darwin was right to suggest human beings evolved out of Africa. But if you go to Lusaka Museum in Zambia today, guide Kamfwa Chishala can only show you a replica – the real skull was shipped to the Natural History Museum.

Now both Chishala and the fake skull (pictured) are coming to London, as part of Thai artist Pratchaya Phinthong's first UK show. Chishala will relate the tale of the skull to visitors in exactly the way that he does at home.

“The real skull is a source of pride but unreachable to visitors – replicas do not fulfil the expectations of Zambians,” Chishala tells me. “The absence of the country's important find has created a vacuum in local exhibitions.”

Chisenhale Gallery, London E3 (www.chisenhale.org.uk) 26 July to 1 September