'I am a native foreigner'
23 Sep 2017 - 3 Jun 2018

Aspects of Migration in the Collection of the Stedelijk

Migration has occurred throughout human history, and the forefathers of the vast majority of Dutch people were of foreign ancestry. Migration reshapes identities and language, and also defines the way we think about such things as 'country' and ‘home’. Migration is not only an issue with social, political and economic consequences, it is also the subject of art. The Stedelijk Museum presents works from the collection that illustrate different chapters in the history of migration, from Dutch migrants arriving at Ellis Island in the 1900s to Indonesian-Dutch repatriates at Camp Budel in 1958, and from Surinamese-Dutch residents of the Bijlmer in 1975 to the young Almerisa in a Dutch refugee centre and the Syrian refugees in modern-day Turkey.

The exhibition includes documentary images of migrants and displaced persons along with photographic work that questions the portrayal of refugees in the media. The topic of migration pertains, amongst other issues, to the Dutch colonial history in Surinam and Indonesia. In La Javanaise, Artist Wendelien van Oldenburg focuses on this colonial history, as well as globalisation and the migration flows of objects, techniques and aesthetics. In Remy Jungerman's and Ed Hart's work, memories of Surinam play a central role. In the 1960s and 70s, various artists left their home country to live and work in Amsterdam. Thus, in addition to the aforementioned artists, this exhibition features work by Marlene Dumas (South-Africa), Rineke Dijkstra (The Netherlands), Miguel-Angel Cardenas (Colombia), Otobong Nkanga (Nigeria) and Ulisses Carrión (Mexico), whose statement "I am a native foreigner" is used as the title for the exhibition. 

This exhibition is part of a long-term research programme of the Stedelijk in which the museum's collection, both the fine art and design, is approached, interpreted and presented in an experimental way.