Panama 2013

Museums in Panama- and in one, a story of prostate exams for 45,000 men


There are not a great many museums in Panama.  We went to the Contemporary Art Museum, from which most of these photos come.   I have labeled the photos so you know where they were taken.

The art museum is in a small building not far from Panama Viejo.  It is pretty small with just three galleries.  I liked a lot of the paintings and some of the photos too.  One of the guys there went around with us- as did the woman at the Afro-Antilles museum.  We got to see some paintings from the previous exhibition.  He also walked with us halfway to the Afro-Antilles museum.  I am not sure we would have found it otherwise.  As he left he said we are now friends forever.  It is just $3.00 to get in.  They are moving to a new building on the causeway, I think it is.  Looks like a lovely building in a lovely spot.

At the  Afro-Antilles museum the woman and only other person there beside us offered to take us through the exhibit.  It is a short walk to the building from the Museum in a rather chaotic and crowded area which is not for the faint of heart.  The metro will have an exit just outside the entrance, which at the moment is inaccessible.

A woman offered to take us around.  She recounted some of the facts of the Afro-Antilleans in the construction of the canal.  As I recall they were the most numerous group  at 18,000 while Panamanians among the least at a mere 500!   She interviewed some of those who lived through that period, including her grandmother.   They told her that Panamanians heard that you had to submit to a rectal exam before you were hired and they did not understand that it had anything to do with the prostate!  I can not imagine that the US government would have required a rectal exam on 45,000 mostly young workers.







By Gary Kirkpatrick

Artist and travel blogger.

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