Dutch Rijksmuseum announces landmark slavery exhibition – Artwork & Tradition

Amsterdam’s famed Rijksmuseum unveiled designs Thursday for a landmark demonstrate future year about the Netherlands’ colonial purpose in slavery, saying it would tackle concerns elevated by the Black Lives Matter motion.

The “Slavery” exhibition will be the initial big function on the delicate issue of Dutch involvement in human trade across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans less than just one roof, museum officials reported.

It arrives as the Black Life Make a difference protests in the United States are changing perceptions globally, and with the discussion at house about the Netherlands’ individual attitude to race and its colonial heritage.

The colonial earlier of the Netherlands experienced an “vital function in laying the foundations for the current-working day Netherlands,” Rijksmuseum director Taco Dibbits reported at the exhibition’s start event, held on-line due to coronavirus limits.

“In the colonial historical past slavery also has an important role and we felt that we really should convey to that tale,” he claimed, including “I believe that Black Lives Subject surely addresses a lot of issues that are also addressed in the exhibition.”

During the height of its colonial empire in the 17th century, the Netherlands stored colonies in the Caribbean which include Suriname and Curacao, in South Africa, as effectively as in the previous Dutch East Indies in Asia, the present day-working day Indonesia.

The exhibition, which opens following year in February, will convey to the story of 10 people today whose life were being intricately interwoven with slavery — from slaves them selves to slave and plantation entrepreneurs to people who resisted the practice.

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‘Extreme serious conditions’

This incorporated the story of a person born into slavery on a plantation in Suriname at the time it was under Dutch colonial rule and finally dying as a slave there.

A central exhibit to illustrate the man’s tale is a sugar cane juice boiling kettle, exhibiting how slaves ended up pressured to perform day-and-evening less than “serious serious problems,” museum officers claimed.

Also in the exhibition are drawings of the exact same plantation, produced for its youthful Dutch operator named Jonas Witsen, who inherited it but who had no intention of at any time traveling to there.

Each of the 10 stories are accompanied by an audio tour informed by modern day narrators who have a direct link to folks showcased.

“The exhibition isn’t going to give solutions to all the concerns, but it is there to stimulate visitors to consider about the process of slavery,” said Eveline Sint Nicolaas, senior curator at the Rijksmuseum.

The Rijksmuseum retains priceless functions from artists these as Rembrandt who flourished in the course of the “Golden Age” of Dutch art, which was by itself fueled by the riches coming in from the colonies.

The Netherlands has not formally apologized for its job in the slave trade. 

But Dutch Primary Minister Mark Rutte admitted in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year that racism was also a difficulty in the Netherlands.

Phone calls are also intensifying in the Netherlands to scrap Black Pete, a festive children’s character that ordinarily accompanies Saint Nicholas, donning blackface, thick pink lips and an afro wig.

Activists say “Zwarte Piet” is racist and harks back again to the Dutch colonial past.

The Rijksmuseum exhibition was all about “history that has not left behind however,” stated Valika Smeulders, the Rijksmuseum’s head of record.

It runs from February 12 to Might 30 up coming 12 months. 

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