Exhibiting.Omissions. Objects from Tanzania and the Colonial Archive
| Humboldt Forum
The collection of the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin includes some 10,000 objects which are attributed to the area of present-day Tanzania.
Most of the objects were acquired – often in violent ways – during the period of German and British colonial rule.
The workshop exhibition Exhibiting.Omissions. Objects from Tanzania and the Colonial Archive questions, remembers, and reconsiders the museum’s objects and their stories: to whom and where did the objects now in the museum’s depot belong? What stories do they have to tell that remain untold or ignored to this day? Should these objects still be on display in Berlin today? And what omissions do we encounter when reflecting on these issues, what remains hidden?
The objects’ problematic colonial and racist past is addressed in several sections. For example, the exhibition includes four display cases in which original objects from the former colony of “German East Africa” are replaced with “surrogate objects” by contemporary artists, among others. Sensitive objects thus attain visibility and are subject to a new, contemporary approach. Even omissions and gaps – in archives, in historiography – are made visible: their trail is marked by blank text boxes and pink-coloured fields.
This exhibition is a critical reflection by the Berlin curatorial team on sensitive objects from Tanzania. Conceived as a preparatory event for a collaborative project, this workshop exhibition is intended to culminate in a presentation curated jointly with the National Museum of Tanzania.