Creator & Co-Founder of African Heritage
Alan Donovan arrived in Africa on July 4 1967 with the US State Department as a relief officer during the Nigerian-Biafra war. He resigned his post in 1969, bought a Volkswagen bus in Paris, and travelled through the Sahara Desert to Nigeria. During his African odyssey, he encountered the magnificent mud mosques of Mali and other examples of African pre-colonial mud architecture. He then drove across the Congo to Kenya, arriving in Nairobi in March 1970. Thereafter he spent several months with the peoples of the Northern Frontier District of Kenya. He held his first exhibition of art and material culture from the Turkana and other peoples of Northern Kenya in October 1970. It was then he met Joseph Murumbi, the former Vice President of Kenya, and Africa’s most notable private collector. Together, with Murumbi’s wife, Sheila, they opened African Heritage, the first Pan African gallery on the African continent, in 1972.