BLACK & WHITE
2013 marked the 150th anniversary of the ending of slavery in the Netherlands
With the exhibition ‘Black & White’ (Zwart & Wit), the Tropenmuseum has played a prominent role in commemorating and celebrating this event. The exhibition in the Tropenmuseum’s Great Hall, curated by Prof. dr. Alex van Stipriaan, explores how black and white Dutch people have lived together over the past one and a half century, since the abolition of slavery in 1863 in the Netherlands.
By asking thought provoking questions the Tropenmuseum invites visitors to engage in discussion, with each other and most profoundly with themselves. Black & White is more than simply an exhibition; it is a national project of thorough investigations.
Who is black and who is white? Who actually determines this?
And what does the slavery past have to do with this?
Burobraak was commissioned to execute both 3d and graphic design of the exhibition and its related events.
3D design was executed in collaboration with Geke Lensink.
AS INITIATOR AND CURATOR OF THE BLACK&WHITE PROJECT IT WAS A PLEASURE TO WORK WITH
BUROBRAAK. I EXPECTED FLASHY AND CREATIVE DESIGNS, WHICH THEY INDEED PRODUCED WHILST
I EXPECTED FLASHY AND CREATIVE DESIGNS, WHICH THEY INDEED PRODUCED WHILST KEEPING AN
OPEN MIND TO DESIGN IDEAS FROM MY PART. HOWEVER, AND MAYBE MORE IMPORTANTLY, THEY WERE
ABLE TO BE CREATIVE PARTNERS ON THE CONTENT SIDE AS WELL.
ALEX VAN STIPRIAAN
Professor of Caribbean History and Culture, Curator and Consultant.
& 'ZWARTE PIET'
The character of ‘Zwarte Piet’ (Black Pete) in the Dutch ‘Sinterklaas’ festival has been a growing controversy in The Netherlands. A slow growing number of people believe the depiction of Black Pete with exaggerated features and blackface make-up is racist.
The Tropenmuseum dedicated quite a bit of attention to the Zwarte Piet debate in the exhibition ‘Black & White’ (Zwart & Wit). Along with designing the exhibition, we were invited to contribute content on this subject thanks to our involvement with the Anti-Black-Pete movement.
Burobraak continues to support the anti-black-pete movement, and is looking forward to a Sinterklaas celebration that is inclusive and racially sensitive to today's society.
BLACK & WHITE
Burobraak transports the discussion about Black & White outside the Tropenmuseum by introducing the “Babble-box”, a mobile video message box that visits various festivals and related celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the ending of slavery in the Netherlands. It is prompted by a number of loaded statements, such as
'The word negro is insulting’ or ‘it's time to get rid of the black pete (zwarte piet) tradition'.
Visitors are able to record their opinions on video and hence be part of the piece. The responses are presented on a special stage in the exhibition designated for debate.
OF 11.000 NAMES
Following the abolition of slavery in the Netherlands, freed slaves received surnames. For many Dutch people from Surinamese and Antillean decent their family name is now one of few clear remnants of their family heritage.
Over 11,000 names are brought together in this special monument that was part of the exhibition in the Tropenmuseum. Prior to the exhibition this monument was on display during the annual Keti Koti events on July 1st (commemorating and celebrating the ending of slavery in the Netherlands) in the Oosterpark.
A more flexible and weatherproof new design of the monument was created for the Tropenmuseum to allow for an annual display during Keti Koti in the Oosterpark.
Photos Gertjan van Rooij (large overviews) en Arjan Braaksma (details)