This thinking and doing poetically, is one of the central ambitions of the ethnographic research I conduct, in the Netherlands and the Caribbean island Sint Eustatius. And it is something that as I look for it around me, I seem to find in all kinds of work. I find these kinds of rhythmic movements specifically interesting when thinking of the museum. Many well known museums around the world have become subject to decolonizing efforts and the Netherlands is no exception. Especially with regards, but not restricted to former colonial institutes a notable shift is taking place. Whereas these institutes are traditionally known for exhibiting historical accounts in a fixed setting (think for example of the cultural artifacts of an indigenous community in the tropics), we can now see a movement towards an unfixed, instable form of exhibition, away from prescribed genres. It is exhibited in a way that sometimes has a sense of anarchy, when the story and the narrative are indiscernible. As is, these stories are told by young minds which possess a cultural diversity that the late poets of the Caribbean wrote about.
Not long ago, a new museum opened in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. The neighbourhood that is known for its high population of migrants and impoverished areas, the Bijlmer, became home to OSCAM (Open Space Contemporary Art Museum). The first museum in the borough, the first museum to be founded and directed by second-generation migrants with tentacles in the Caribbean. The work showcased in their gallery is as diverse as the art discipline can be, but a certain common thread is that no story is singular, every single expression is plural in its essence.
OSCAM re-opens at a new location on January 16th 2020 at Bijlmerplein 110, Amsterdam.
Wereldmuseum Rotterdam is being renovated and re-opens January 17th 2020 with an exhibition on contemporary Caribbean perspectives. At Willemskade 25 in Rotterdam.
Tropenmuseum is currently showcasing an interactive kids-tour on Suriname’s global connections. At Linneausstraat 2 in Amsterdam.
A version of this post was previously featured in the january 2020 issue of the newsletter of the Caribbean Studies Association.