Witness in Stone is a joint publication by the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the Tropenmuseum. Both organisations are derived from the former Colonial Institute. This book tells their story, through the adornments in and on the building in which they reside.
Roughly 200 artworks and decorations can be discovered in its structure, hinting to Dutch history and its attitude towards the former Dutch colonies. More than just depicting the Netherlands and its colonies, they are symbolic references to European despotism and the supposed barbarity of colonized countries. Sometimes they reinforce discriminatory beliefs. The Tropenmuseum and KIT reflect on these symbolisms and ways of representation in Witness in Stone. Artist Brian Elstak provides a powerful contrasting voice with his drawings.
This publication complements the ‘What’s the Story’ exhibition – an exposition on the history of the Tropenmuseum, in which we also take a critical look at ourselves.
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