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Archive for April 29th, 2014

Norway to restage 1914 ‘human zoo’ that exhibited Africans as inmates

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 29, 2014

From The Guardian Newspaper

Artists claim recreating exhibition will help country confront its colonial past. Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire is not convinced.

And for the record, neither am I.  I think this is the most insulting racist idea anyone ever came up with.

As part of mammoth celebrations of the 200th anniversary of Norway’s constitution, the government is funding two artists to re-enact a “human zoo”, which will open to the public on 15 May.

Oslo’s original human zoo or Kongolandsbyen was central to Norway’s world fair in 1914. The artists claim that the new project, which they named European Attraction Limited, is meant to provoke a discussion on colonialism and racism in a post-modern world, engaging with Norway’s racist past in the process.

Some anti-racism organisations and commentators have labelled the project offensive and racist. Is there any artistic value in the re-enactment of such a dehumanising spectacle, especially in a world not yet fully healed of racism? Is this an abuse of art? Or will the re-enactment reverse the modest gains of the equality struggles, especially when the world engages with the subject of race so superficially?

Norway’s 1914 human zoo is not the most widely known historical fact in the country, or elsewhere. But, for five months, 80 people of African origin (Senegalese) lived in “the Congo village” in Oslo, surrounded by “indigenous African artefacts”. Read the rest of this entry »

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