In October 2017 the District Museum Treptow-Köpenik, Berlin launched the exhibition “Zurückgeschaut” (Looking Back). Created in cooperation with the NGOs Berlin Postkolonial and the Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (Initiative of Black People in Germany) this is the first permanent exhibition in Germany to engage critically with the country’s colonial past and with the related history of a Black presence in Germany. The exhibition focuses on the 1896 Berlin Colonial Exhibition, at which 106 men, women and children from Germany’s colonial empire in Africa and the South Seas were put on display at Treptow Park in Berlin, as a form of “human zoo.” It partly tells the history of the exhibition through biographies and portraits of the men and women who were on display. In doing so it demonstrates that while those on display were objectified, they were also looking back, returning the colonial gaze, and resisting the racialized roles expected of them.
Source: “Zurückgeschaut”, Museum Treptow, Berlin. Photograph courtesy of Robbie Aitken.
Looking Back exhibition (2017) by Robbie Aitken is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://blackcentraleurope.com/who-we-are/.