25, 26 Nov 2021

The Research Center for Material Culture and the Stedelijk Museum are organizing a symposium in connection with the exhibition Kirchner and Nolde: Expressionism. Colonialism.

Please note: due to the rising infection rates, this symposium will take place online in the form of a Zoom-webinar. Find the link to the webinar below. 

No ticket necessary 
25 Nov 2021, 12 pm until 3.30 pm
26 Nov 2021, 9.30 am until 3.45 pm
Main language
Link to ZOOM-webinar
  • Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. All works by Emil Nolde © Nolde Foundation Seebüll
  • Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. All works by Emil Nolde © Nolde Foundation Seebüll
  • Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. All works by Emil Nolde © Nolde Foundation Seebüll
  • Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij. All works by Emil Nolde © Nolde Foundation Seebüll
  • All works by Emil Nolde © Nolde Foundation Seebüll

Het begin van het einde van het kunstmuseum

— Edo Dijksterhuis, Het Parool, 3 September 2021

Vragen stellen, ook schurende, houdt kunst levend

— Toef Jaeger, NRC, 6 September 2021

The exhibition asks us to see from a perspective that is contradictory to what most people have been taught. So we are challenged to take off our rose-tinted glasses and question ourselves

— Hannah Vollam, Metropolis M, 5 October 2021

De tentoonstelling is een oefening in kijken en spreken

— Roos van der Lint, De Groene Amsterdammer, 14 oktober 2021

In early September 2021, the exhibition Kirchner and Nolde: Expressionism. Colonialism opened at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. The exhibition examines Kirchner and Nolde's artworks within the context of the colonial reality in which they were produced. The reviews that followed—whether critical or laudatory—almost all expressed surprise or discomfort, and always thoughtfulness. These reactions underscore what have now become quite common, yet unresolved, concerns that have surfaced in comparable contexts: What is the difference between art (history) and ethnography, with reference to both the approaches adopted by museums and the way in which visitors contemplate the works? Why are distinctions still made between art and ethnography? How does an exhibition on Kirchner and Nolde reveal that so many of our standards of beauty derive from racialized practices of looking? At whose expense do we educate our visitors in this regard? Is it our role to educate visitors? To whom do we refer when we utter the term 'visitor', or the pronoun ‘we’? And, if ‘we’ are all implicated in colonialism, as Michael Rothberg has stated, how can we as museums create a space for audiences whose experiences of colonialism differ so radically from one another?[1]

To situate Kirchner and Nolde’s works within the historical contexts that informed their creation is to take a critical position towards these works, but also towards these contexts. To think Kirchner and Nolde alongside present-day debates is to declare that colonialism should play a crucial role in contemporary conversations about expressionism. At some level, the exhibit about Kirchner and Nolde asks the public to rethink not only how ‘we’ narrate history, but also how ‘we’ visually give life to that history. The question of how we narrate history also invites an interrogation of how the art museum or the ethnographic museum is mobilized when society narrates itself to a public sphere. In short, must art remain ahistorical? Are aesthetics really outside the realm of how we narrate our pasts? If, as Lewis R. Gordon asserts,[2] aesthetics is about determining what is valuable to a given society, then what kinds of values have been attributed to the collections deemed appropriate for the art, ethnographic, and/or world museum/s?

Some questions the symposium might consider are:

  • While the debate is far from new, what do recent exhibitions about Gauguin and Laval (Van Gogh Museum, 2018-19) and Kirchner and Nolde offer in terms of rethinking the disciplinary histories that have shaped the collections and the museums that house them? Which approaches have, and can, museums develop to remediate the legacies of such difficult histories?
  • While experts have heatedly debated which role each type of museum should play in society,[3] how does the relationship between art (history) and ethnography still function as a smoke screen that obfuscates the ways in which aesthetics[4] deeply informs and even justifies the violence of colonial histories and their aftermaths? Why not instead rethink our collections and their art and/or objects[5] as existing between and among the formal, the historical, the social, the technological, and the cultural?
  • More daringly, is there perhaps a broader—and even more difficult question—to ask about the very role that museums play in society? Across different museums in recent years, there seems to be a struggle to think about how we approach the past. Should we judge Kirchner and Nolde based on acceptable social practices of their time? Should we consider them based on today’s principles of acceptable behavior? How might seeing history from various critical standpoints allow us to open up our society to more capacious ways of imagining itself?
  • In the past, the most powerful stakeholders of a society deployed the museum to fulfil a sense of national pride or to confirm particular histories that the society had come to understand as given. Why, even when more recent scholarship suggests otherwise, does our national narrative hold on to what have increasingly become outdated justifications of conventional versions of history?
  • Are our societies poised to pay lip service to the question of the decolonial? That is, while our societies engage openly with the demand to decolonize, are they perhaps fearful of what comes after they despoil normative national narratives for self-confirmation or titillation? If Gordon understands whiteness as the fear of becoming irrelevant are more mainstream stakeholders perhaps both excited and terrified by what comes next, what comes when our societies truly frontally face the aggression of the colonial-modernist project?[6]
  • What does it mean to take into account the historical circumstances that allowed Nolde to travel to what was then German Papua New Guinea (1913-14)? How do recent exhibitions about art from Oceania, German colonialism and the interconnectedness of art and colonialism afford new readings of Nolde’s works as well as of artworks from Papua New Guinean artists of the period?[7]
  • How can we more deliberately think about ways in which ethnographic, world culture and contemporary art museums have thought and might continue to think alongside each other, borrow from one another’s collections and methodologies, and work together?
  • How might we develop curatorial strategies that do not reproduce the very violence that we are trying to address, and how can differently positioned visitors—with their multiple different reactions to the exhibit—help us to put these strategies into action.

[1] For more on Rothberg’s notion of implicated subject see talk description and recording.

[2] Lewis R. Gordon. “Black Aesthetics, Black Value.” Public Culture (2018) 30 (1): 19–34. If you would like to read Gordon’s piece, until November 27, you may access it here.

[3] Of course, the question is not a new one and has been taken up by many including most recently Souleymane Bachir Diagne. Diagne studies Léopold Sédar Senghor’s work in the book African Art As Philosophy: Senghor, Bergson and the Idea of Négritude (2011), in the RCMC Thinking With talk. It can be accessed here. Diagne’s work in turn inspired the IncarNations: African Art As Philosophy exhibit and book (Bozar, Brussels, 2019), curated by Kendell Geers.

[4] For Gordon, aesthetics refers to what a given society deems valuable, less valuable, and even invaluable.

[5] Instead of ‘objects,’ Souleymane Bachir Diagne also uses the term “intersubjective matrixes.”

[6] Gordon, 30.

[7] Recent exhibits about Oceania include: Oceania/Océanie first at the Royal Academy of Arts (London, 2018); then exhibited at the Quai Branly (Paris, 2019); Oceanië, een Zee van Eilanden at the Museum Volkenkunde (Leiden, 2020). We might also take into consideration Nolde & National-Socialism (Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenward, Berlin, 2019); The Blind Spot. Art in Bremen during the Colonial Period, Kunsthalle Bremen (2017); and Deutscher Kolonialismus. Fragmente seiner Geschichte und Gegenwart (Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, 2017). Forthcoming is the exhibit Lines. Australian Aboriginal Painting: Tradition and Contemporaneity (in Catalàn: “Traços. Pintura aborigen australiana: tradició i contemporaneïtat,” Museu Etnológico y de Culturas del Món, December 18, 2021 – January 15, 2022).



Date: Thursday, 25 November 2021
Location: Online
Time: 12.00 – 15.30

Link active
Session 1
Welcome and Introduction

Wayne Modest, Rein Wolfs
Online visit to the exhibition Kirchner and Nolde: Expressionism. Colonialism

Followed by: Q&A with Beatrice von Bormann and Erna Lilje
Session 2
Modernism and Colonialism
What does it mean to exhibit Kirchner and Nolde in 2021?

Conversation with:
Beatrice von Bormann
Dorthe Aagesen
Elena Schroll and Anna Brus
Maite van Dijk
Rebekka Habermas

Moderator: Carine Zaayman
End of program


Date: Friday, 26 November 2021
Location: Online
Time: 09.30 – 15.45

Link active
Session 3
Considering Oceania/Océanie
On the changing social contract of the museum: what is the relationship of the ethnographic museum to the modern and contemporary art museum and vice versa?

Conversation with:
Nicholas Thomas
Narelle Jubelin
Stéphanie Leclerc-Caffarel
Wonu Veys
Daniel Waswas

Moderator: Birgit Meyer
Session 4
On representation and subjectivities: thinking from the model

Conversation with:

Nancy Jouwe
Dicky Takndare
Lisa Hilli
Enotie Ogbebor
Tessa Mars

Moderator: Erna Lilje
Session 5

With: Erna Lilje
End of program


Beatrice von Bormann

Beatrice von Bormann is Curator of Art 1860-1960 at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and mounted the exhibition Kirchner and Nolde: Expressionism. Colonialism, an exhibition thinking through the work of German Expressionists Emil Nolde and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and their specific relationship to ethnographic art, considered from a post-colonial perspective. The presentation is a co-production with the Statens Museum in Copenhagen.
From 2014 to 2017, Von Bormann served as Head of Collections and curator at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, curating shows such as Charlotte Salomon – Leben? Oder Theater? and Affichomanie. Toulouse-Lautrec und das Plakat um 1900. Previously, in the role of freelance curator, von Bormann curated exhibitions, including Oskar Kokoschka –Humanist und Rebell for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, which travelled to Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; Dix/Beckmann: Mythos Welt for the Städtische Kunsthalle Mannheim; and the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich. She also mounted the exhibition Max Beckmann in Amsterdam, 1937-1947 for the Van Gogh Museum.

Dorthe Aagesen

Dorthe Aagesen is Chief Curator and Senior Researcher with the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the SMK (Statens Museum for Kunst), National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen, where she has worked since 1999.  She oversees the Museum’s modern collection, and has been engaged in ambitious reinstallations, while also organizing temporary exhibitions. Before 1999 she served as a curator for four years at Arken Museum of Modern Art. During her museum tenures, Dorthe Aagesen has contributed to over fifteen exhibitions and published numerous articles covering a range of subjects within twentieth-century European art. Exhibitions she has curated or co-curated include Sonja Ferlov Mancoba (2019, with Centre Pompidou); Asger Jorn – Restless Rebel (2014) and Henri Matisse – In Search of True Painting (2012, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Centre Pompidou). Dorthe Aagesen completed her graduate studies in art history at Aarhus University in 1996, was a member of the Danish Agency for Culture’s council for Art History in 2008-2010, and on the board of NORDIK Nordic Committee for Art History in 2010-2012. She is currently a member of the research project The Art of Nordic Colonialism: Writing Transcultural Art Histories.

Anna Brus

Dr. Anna Brus is art historian and lecturer at the University of Cologne. Her research and curatorial work focuses on the intersections between art history and anthropology. She investigates in exhibition practices of modernity, the entangled history of post/colonial collections and their echo in a post-migrant present. She curated the exhibition Spectral-White. The Appearance of Colonial Europeans at HKW, Berlin (2019 – 2020, together with Anselm Franke) and is a member of the DCNtR blog collective (https://boasblogs.org/). Upcoming publications include the journal “The Post/Colonial Museum” (Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften, 2022). She is currently working for the Brücke Museum on provenance, polyphonic re-activation and digitization of the colonial collection of Karl Schmidt-Rottluff.

Elena Schroll

Elena Schroll is Curator of Collection at the Brücke-Museum since August 2020. Previously she was Associate Curator at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, where she co-curated the exhibitions Making Van Gogh. A German Love Story (2019/20) and Lotte Laserstein. Face to Face (2018/19).

Maite van Dijk

Maite van Dijk has recently started as Artistic Director of Museum MORE in Gorssel. From 2009 to 2021 she was Senior Curator of Paintings at the Van Gogh Museum, where she was responsible for the collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh’s contemporaries. In these years she organized a wide range of exhibitions exploring nineteenth and early twentieth-century art, including Munch : Van Gogh (2015), Daubigny, Monet, Van Gogh: Impressions of Landscape (2016) and Gauguin and Laval in Martinique (2018) and Jean-François Millet: Sowing the Seeds of Modern Art (2019).

Maite studied History of Art and Curating Art and Cultures at the University of Amsterdam, combined with international internships and study exchanges. She obtained her doctorate at the University of Amsterdam in 2017 with research into exhibition strategies and the critical reception of international artists at the Salon des Indépendants in Paris between 1884 and 1914. Maite started her career as a research assistant at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 

Rebekka Habermas

Prof. Rebekka Habermas is Professor for Modern History at the University of Göttingen. Her main fields of research are colonial history, history of knowledge, and religious history. In the field of colonial history she studies German colonialism as entangled history. Her studies in history of knowledge focus on questions of colonial knowledge, including aspects of material  and museum studies. Her most recent project in this area  looks at the impact colonial objects had on the making of modern European art around 1900. Her expertise in German religious history ranges from questions of how the secular and the religious are shaped and reshaped in a global perspective to mission studies, with a particular interest in protestant and catholic missions in colonial times. All her fields of research aim at combining  micro-history approaches with an entangled history perspective.

Carine Zaayman

Carine Zaayman is an artist, curator and scholar committed to critical engagement with colonial archives and collections, specifically those holding strands of Khoekhoe pasts. Bringing intangible and neglected histories into view is a key motivation for her work. Her research aims to contribute to a radical reconsideration of colonial archives and museum collections, especially by assisting in finding ways to release their hold over our imaginations when we narrate the past, as well as how we might shape futures from it. She obtained a PhD in Fine Art from the University of Cape Town in 2019 and worked as a senior lecturer for its Michaelis School of Fine Art and the Centre for Curating the Archive (both at UCT) until then. At present, Zaayman is a postdoctoral fellow at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, as a team member in the Worlding Public Cultures project under Professor Wayne Modest.

Daniel Waswas

Daniel is a celebrated Papua New Guinean artist, educator, and the founder of Centre for Arts & Innovation, PNG. He completed a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University Of Auckland, New Zealand, and a Bachelor’s degree in Art and Design from Whitecliffe College of Art and Design, also in Auckland. He also holds a Certificate in Adult Education from Auckland’s Manukau Institute of Technology. Daniel’s work has been exhibited in major international exhibitions including the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art Queensland Art Gallery, and The Latitudes: Terres du Pacifique (Contemporary Art from Pacific). Daniel has presented papers at international conferences and been invited to international galleries such as the Museum of Confluences, Lyon, France, to demonstrate and talk about his work. Daniel was one of few Pacific delegates selected for the Emerging Pacific Leaders Dialogue 2006. He was awarded a research scholar-inresidence at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies, University of Canterbury. Daniel’s artworks are found in both private and public collections.

Nicholas Thomas

Nicholas Thomas is Professor of Historical Anthropology and Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He was born in Sydney in 1960 and visited the Pacific first in 1984 to undertake research in the Marquesas Islands. He is author or editor of some fifty influential books and exhibition catalogues, which have ranged widely over European exploration and art in Oceania, colonial histories and Indigenous art traditions. They include Islanders: the Pacific in the age of empire (2012), which was awarded the Wolfson History Prize and several books in collaboration with artists, including the New Zealand photographer Mark Adams and the Niuean painter John Pule. He has also written extensively about contemporary art and museums for the Financial Times, The Art Newspaper, Apollo, Artlink and Art Asia Pacific. Oceania, which Thomas co-curated with Peter Brunt for the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac in Paris in 2018-19 was acclaimed as landmark exhibition by critics across major newspapers in Britain, France, Germany and the United States, as well as in Pacific nations themselves. A new edition of his cross-cultural art history, Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture, first published in 1999, is forthcoming.

Stéphanie Leclerc-Caffarel

Stéphanie Leclerc-Caffarel is curator of Pacific Collections at the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris. She graduated from the Ecole du Louvre, and received her Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) in 2014. Her research focuses on intersecting histories of museum collections from the Pacific, with particular attention to indigenous agencies. In 2019, she acted as local curator for the exhibition Océanie/Oceania, first presented at the Royal Academy Arts (London). Recently, she co-curated the exhibition Maro ‘ura: a Polynesian treasure, with the Musée de Tahiti et des îles – Te Fare Manaha and Dr. Guillaume Alevêque.

Wonu Veys

Wonu Veys has curated What a Genderful World, first presented at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam in 2019 and then in the Wereldmuseum in Rotterdam in 2020; A Sea of Islands – Masterpieces from Oceania at the Volkenkunde in Leiden in 2021; the Mana Māori exhibition (2010-2011) at the Volkenkunde in Leiden and published a book with the same title. She co-curated the Australian Art exhibition with Dr. Georges Petitjean and a barkcloth exhibition Tapa, Étoffes cosmiques d’Océanie in Cahors in 2009 with Laurent Guillaut. Her fieldwork sites include New Zealand (since 2000), Tonga (since 2003) and more recently Arnhem Land, Australia (since 2014). Her topics of interest and expertise include Pacific art and material culture, museums and cultures of collecting, Pacific musical instruments, Pacific textiles, and the significance of historical objects in a contemporary setting.

Narelle Jubelin

Narelle Jubelin is an Australian artist who has lived in Madrid since 1996. Narelle has an extensive exhibition history which, from the outset, has been marked by international scope and rigour. Her research-based practice directs our attention towards tiny fragments of large histories with great exactness. She has worked in interdisciplinary, intergenerational and intercultural teams as a consulting curator establishing MoS, The Museum of Sydney in the mid 90s (a museum on the archeological site of the first european government house, so in effect, a museum of the first 60 years of colonial occupation) and in Spain was consulting curator for the award winning Pavilion of Pacific Islands for the world water expo in Zaragoza, 2008. She is currently co-curating an exhibition (March, 2022) with senior Tiwi Islands artist and cultural leader Pedro Wonaeamirri for the Museu Etnològic i de Cultures del Mòn (Barcelona). 

Birgit Meyer

Birgit Meyer (PhD in Anthropology, 1995) is Professor of Religious Studies at Utrecht University. Trained as a cultural anthropologist, she studies religion from a material and postcolonial angle, seeking to synthesize grounded fieldwork and theoretical reflection in a multidisciplinary setting. Recent book publications include Figuration and Sensations of the Unseen in Judaism, Christianity and Islam: Contested Desires (2019, coedited with Terje Stordalen), and Refugees and Religion. Ethnographic Studies of Global Trajectories (2021, coedited with Peter van der Veer). She directs the research program Religious Matters in an Entangled World.

Nancy Jouwe

Nancy Jouwe is a cultural historian as well as an independent researcher, public speaker, publicist, as well as a producer and curator.  She is interested in intersectionality, postcolonial and decolonial theoretical approaches, as well as theories and practice related to art and heritage. Jouwe teaches in the MA program in Visual Arts at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht and at Amsterdam University College. As a researcher, she works as a consultant for the municipality of Utrecht, focusing notably on the history of slavery in Utrecht. She has published articles and books about postcolonial cultural and social movements in the history of Dutch slavery, which include: Caleidoscopische Visies. De zwarte, migranten, vluchtelingen vrouwenbeweging in Nederland. (2001), Paradijsvogels in de Polder. 50 jaar Papoea’s in Nederland (2012), Gids Slavernijverleden Nederland, Netherlands Slavery Heritage Guide (LM Publishers, 2019) and Amsterdam en de slavernij in Oost en West. Het Amsterdam Onderzoek (Uniekboek/Spectrum, 2020). She is the chairperson vor BAK, Basis voor Actuele Kunst and was co-founder of the art platform of Framer Framed.

Dicky Takndare

Dicky Takndare was born in Sentani, West Papua in 1988 and now become a Yogyakarta (Indonesia) based artist. In 2018 he was co-founded UDEIDO Collective, a collective of young West Papuan artists that focused on the socio-cultural exploration of West Papua through contemporary arts. Dicky's artistic practices try to advocate Papuan humanism through painting, drawing, wood carving, installation, writing, and community engagements. Back in 2012, he also co-founded IKMT, a community of Melanesian young artists such us from West Papua, Maluku Islands, and East Nusa Tenggara, and Timor Islands. His upcoming projects would be with Udeido Collective, where they will be taking part in the exhibition of Present Continuous in The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts in Nusantara (MACAN) Jakarta. In these projects, Udeido Collectives would try to make an approach of how if ethnological things put into the Modern and Contemporary Arts circle. https://alimangstudio.weebly.com/cv.html

Lisa Hilli

Lisa Hilli is passionate about sharing Melanesian histories through storytelling experiences. As a contemporary artist and scholar, Lisa uses her practice to creatively research gender and body politics, textiles, and indigenous and colonial history interpreted through art. Lisa is a descendant of the Tolai people of Papua New Guinea. She holds an MFA by Research from RMIT University in Naarm / Melbourne where she lives and works. Her artwork F.M.I. Sisters of Vunapope exploring Papua New Guinea and Australia’s shared war history, was commissioned by the Australian War Memorial, and acquired for the national collection in 2020. Lisa is a member of PowerhouseGalang, an international indigenous think tank for the Powerhouse Museum Sydney, and member of the Oceania Working Party for the Australian Dictionary of Biography. Lisa is a PhD researcher at the Australian National University. Her practice led PhD research is focused on the visual representation and sovereignty of Papua Niuginian women through photography and filmmaking. Lisa is interested in how visual narratives of Papua Niuginian women’s bodies have been constructed historically and how Papua Niuginian women use the lens today as a tool for agency and self-empowerment. Lisa is currently an International Fellow at the German Maritime Museum, Leibniz Institute for Maritime History exploring the movement of Asian and Pacific bodies on German ships during the colonial era. 

Enotie Ogbebor

Enotie Ogbebor is a multidisciplinary artist who works out of a studio in Benin city, EdoState, Nigeria.Enotie is a self-taught artist who has built a creative hub for artists called The Edo Global Art Foundation.

Through the activities of the Edo Global Art Foundation he has organized art events and trained over 300 people in various aspects of arts and culture. He has trained over 50 visual artist both painters and sculptors he has organized workshops with invited internationally recognized artist as guests. Enotie has delivered papers at Cambridge University, The Royal Art Academy , he has spoken at conferences and given extensive interviews to make his views in the restitution of the Benin Bronzes and the importance of culture and art in the development of our society. He was involved in organizing National Festival of Art and Culture in Edo. Also in 1997, he was involved in organizing extensive travel art exhibitions commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the British Invasion of Benin which was organized by the Palace of The Oba Of Benin, under the revered monarch Oba Erediauwa. He has been involved the Benin Dialogue Group as a steering committee member to facilitate the framework which led to the heightened interest in the restitution of The Benin Bronzes. He is also involved in the Legacy Restoration Trust as a director representing the Edo State Government for the realization of the construction of Edo Museum of West African Arts EMOWAA which is being designed by Sir David Adjaye OBE and which is also proposed as part of a larger cultural center incorporated in the heart of the city with Igun street (quarters of the bronze casters), the Inner Moat and Benin Walls which are globally renowned. He organizes culture tours, facilitates researchers and archeological activities around these sites.
Enotie has participated in many group exhibitions and had some solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally,
He has been offered a Fellowship of the Cambridge University and he is currently on the DAAD artist residency program in Berlin. Enotie was recently announced as Artist in residence at the Cambridge University for 2022/23 and will have his solo exhibition at the British museum in 2023.

Tessa Mars

Tessa Mars (1985) is a Haitian visual artist born and raised in Port-au-Prince. She is a 2020-2022 resident fellow at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. In her practice Mars proposes Storytelling and Image making as transformative strategies for survival, resistance, empowerment and healing. Her main body of work is centered around her alter ego, Tessalines, a hybrid character based on the leader of the Haitian revolution, Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Through this character she created in 2015 Mars investigates gender, History, traditions and she challenges dominant narratives that seek to simplify and flatten the experience of people in the “margins”.

Mars completed a Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts at Rennes 2 University in France in 2006. Her work has been shown recently in the collective exhibition One month after being known on that island (2020) at the Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger in Basel and in her solo show Île modèle-Manman zile-Island template (2019) with le Centre d’Art in Port-au-Prince. She also participated in the Berlin Biennale X in 2018.

Erna Lilje

Dr. Erna Lilje is Curator Indigenous Knowledge & Material Culture. Her work focuses on South Coast New Guinea material culture. She pursues the idea that museum collections can tell us much more about the people who made and used the objects within them if we bring to bear a cross-disciplinary approach that encompasses present-day makers and cultural experts with a close study of the artefacts themselves. More recently Erna has begun to think about the role and ‘use’ of contemporary artists in ethnological museums. Erna holds an honours degree in Visual Arts, Masters of Museum Studies and received a PhD in Archaeology from University of Sydney. She undertook her first postdoctoral post, as a research associate, at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge (2016-18) and was awarded a Newton Trust Research Fellowship (2018).


The exhibition 'Kirchner and Nolde: Expressionism. Colonialism' is the culmination of four years of research in close collaboration with the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen and a group of external experts. The following experts participated in the advisory group at various stages:

Advisory group (different constellations at different times): Mariska ter Horst, Nancy Jouwe, Susan Legêne, Birgit Meyer, Wayne Modest, Yvette Mutumba, Jeftha Pattikawa, Anke Tonnaer and Fanny Wonu Veys.
Advisors regarding Papua New Guinea: Nicolas Garnier, Lisa Hilli, Nancy Jouwe, Antje Kelm, Erna Lilje, Michael Mel, Sara Müller, Markus Schindlbeck, Max Uechtritz and Fanny Wonu Veys, along with linguists Malcolm Ross and Gunter Senft.
Regarding the Benin Bronzes: Silvia Dolz, Dan Hicks, Leontine Meijer-Van Mensch and Enotie Ogbebor.
Regarding the entertainment industry in the German Empire: Wolfgang Henze, Ingeborg Henze-Ketterer, Andreas Schwarze, Robbie Aitken, Joseph Henry, Natasha A. Kelly, Rainer Lotz and Katharina Müllerand.
Regarding colonial exhibitions: Mathias Danbolt, Timo Demollin, Temi Odumosu, Clemens Radauer (see also humanzoos.net), Hilke Thode-Arora.


This program has been developed in close collaboration with the Research Center for Material Culture.
With thanks to: Goethe Institut