On 1 October, the Wereldmuseum will open three new exhibitions: Dossier Indië, Merdeka and Remix Rotterdam. Two of these exhibitions, Dossier Indië and Merdeka, showcase a unique collection of images showing the history of colonial Indonesia up until 1949 and the colonial legacy of Indonesia and the Netherlands today.
The photographs and images shown in Dossier Indië have been selected by guest curator Thom Hoffman. In the Merdeka exhibition, photographic works are shown by Rotterdam photographer Stacii Samidin.
Dossier Indië in cooperation with guest curator Thom Hoffman
The Wereldmuseum asked Thom Hoffman to be guest curator for the exhibition Dossier Indië. The well-known actor, photographer and documentary filmmaker has been immersing himself in the history of the Dutch East Indies for more than 25 years. For the BBNI Image Bank, Hoffman is working on opening up thousands of photographs and film fragments. Moreover, as guest professor at TU Delft and Tilburg University, he researched this historical period with students.
Dossier Indië shows the history of colonized Indonesia. The exhibition shows how nineteenth-century photographers consciously and unconsciously created a mythical image of the colony. The earliest photographs sketch a dream image of a beautiful India. But gradually the character of the photographs changes and a sharper picture of social relations emerges. The perspective shifts from the Dutch colonials to the colonized Indonesians.
Hoffman: "For me photography is a window on history. Each photo describes a relationship. And every Indian photograph for me describes the relationship between the Dutch and the Indonesians, with whom we share an emotional past."
Merdeka by the Rotterdam photographer Stacii Samidin
The Rotterdam photographer Stacii Samidin (1987) made a name for himself with Societies, a photo series about subcultures, including youth groups and infamous gangs. For the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, in 2018, he created the photo exhibition Document Nederland about cafés and their patrons, guests and bartenders.
Samidin has his roots in Indonesia and was commissioned by the museum to make the photo series Merdeka, for which he travelled to Indonesia. Samidin's new photo exhibition at the Wereldmuseum looks beyond the year 1949.
Merdeka, which means freedom/independence, is a personal reflection on the colonial heritage that he finds in Indonesia and the Netherlands today. His photographs show images that can also be found in the exhibition Dossier Indië, such as the island of Onrust, which back then had a totally different meaning than now.
On Sunday 6 October, the Wereldmuseum will organize an intimate meet and greet with the photographer at which he will tell about his journey.
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