This Particular Masquerade, Unmasked

This Particular Masquerade, Unmasked

In 2005, the national museums of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland curated an exhibition “The Congo and the North”,based on 40,000 objects. Rais Boneza comments the following in ’Rethinking Nordic Colonialism (2006):

“It is stupefying that the Nordic countries have decided to exhibit “their” trophies, taken brutally from the people of the Congo without concern or any consultation with the Democratic Republic of Congo” ”We remember that under its abusive colonization by Belgium, the population of the Congo, then estimated to 20 million people, decreased to the half. It was during that period that Nordic missionaries, members of the armed forces, seafarers and other adventurers took part in the pillage of the country”.
Boneza demonstrate that these national institutions stepped seriously away from reflecting on the history in this exhibit where they overlooked how the objects were initially acquired. Can their mistake be a grave example of a national Amnesia, which forms the basis of the atmosphere that we who come from a different background/history daily reside and move in? Last year, at the beginning of 2014, a Danish politician put out the appeal that he was fighting for his democratic right to call people of African descent, Negro. His rally came as a form of protest to Haribo , the candy manufacturer who had decided to remove stereotypical and denigrating caricatures of people of African descent from the cover of their liquorice.

My work is a response to what I perceive as a woman both of black ancestry and parentage who lives in a Nordic culture where a selective view of world history is the rule - and where real knowledge about Scandinavia’s relation to black people during the colonial period is the exception.

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