Germany sued for damages of ‘forgotten genocide’ in Namibia

According to the Guardian: “Germany has been sued for damages in the United States by descendants of the Herero and Nama people of Namibia, for what they called a campaign of genocide by German colonial troops in the early 1900s that led to more than 100,000 deaths.”

Detail of Battle Between Herero Warriors and German Colonials, February 1904.
Detail of Battle Between Herero Warriors and German Colonials, February 1904. Photograph: Chris Hellier/Corbis via Getty Images



Exhibition – German Colonialism: Fragments Past and Present

14 October 2016 to 14 May 2017

Deutsches Historisches Museum

Berlin, Germany

For the first time The Deutsches Historisches Museum is exhibiting more than 500 objects dealing with various aspects of German colonialism.
berlin_col_ex_1As the flyer of the exhibition explains:
“Although the German Empire was one of the major European colonial powers, only in recent years has Germany‘s colonial past found its way into public consciousness to a significant degree. The exhibition of the Deutsches Historisches Museum examines the colonial ideology, which was founded in the belief of a European superiority. The multifarious interconnections of power ranged from local alliances and the routine exercise of violence on up to the colonial war in Namibia, which developed into genocide. No less varied were the colonial encounters. African, Oceanian and German players pursued their own aims and worked out their own scope of action. The exhibition sheds light on the motives of the missionaries, officials, military personnel, settlers and merchants on the German side as well as the interests of the colonialized peoples. At the same time it questions the degree to which the perspectives of the colonialized peoples were taken into account in the historical tradition and whether this stands in contradiction to the enormous extent of the collections and archives that were gathered during the colonial period and which tended to support the conditions of power.
Such an explicit colonial consciousness continued on after 1919. The exhibition devotes no little room to this controversial memory of the colonial past, while artistic as well as civil societal perspectives give us insight into the present situation as to the attitude towards
German colonialism in the countries that were affected as well as in Germany.”
More information can be found here.

Opening of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

On Saturday, September 24 the museum will be opening to the public.

“After 13 years of hard work and dedication on the part of so many, I am thrilled that we now have this good news to share with the nation and the world,” said Lonnie Bunch, the museum’s founding director.

The museum will open with 11 inaugural exhibitions that will focus on broad themes of history, culture and community. The exhibitions have been designed by museum historians in collaboration with Ralph Appelbaum Associates. These exhibitions will feature some of the more that 34,000 artifacts the museum has collected since the legislation establishing it was signed in 2003. The museum’s collections are designed to illustrate the major periods of African American history. Highlights include: a segregation-era Southern Railway car (c. 1920), Nat Turner’s Bible (c. 1830s), Michael Jackson’s fedora (c. 1992), a slave cabin from Edisto Island, S.C. plantation (c. early 1800s), Harriet Tubman’s hymnal (c. 1876) and works of art by Charles Alston, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, and Henry O. Tanner.



This booklet was produced by  John Murray Forbes in December 1862 specifically for Union soldiers to read and distribute among African Americans.

Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture





Around the event, a three-day festival showcasing popular music, literature and dance, some of them  co-hosted by other museums around the country and in Africa, will take place.

More informations about the museum can be found here.

The Rabbits: opera based on John Marsden and Shaun Tan’s picture book

Not everyone thinks of turning a children’s picture book into an opera, but the rabbits had burrowed deep into John Sheedy’s imagination. He took the idea to Opera Australia’s artistic director Lyndon Terracini, who in turn asked pop singer-songwriter and classical soprano Kate Miller-Heidke to write the music. Miller-­Heidke is also the principal soprano in the show, which premiered at the Perth Festival 2015.

“This book fell into my hands about 12 years ago and it was the first time I had seen any of Shaun Tan’s work . . . I was completely inspired, and in awe that, between Shaun Tan’s illustrations and John Marsden’s powerful and economic language, they tackled such huge themes. You can spend an hour on each page and make discovery after discovery … The epic nature of the illustrations just lent itself to an opera.”says John Sheedy, the artistic director of Perth’s Barking Gecko Theatre Company.

The thin but densely packed volume was analysed, divided into scenes and elaborated by a creative team that, in addition to Sheedy and Miller-Heidke, includes playwright Lally Katz (who wrote the libretto), composer and conductor Iain Grandage (musical arrangements) and designer Gabriela Tylesova. Tan and Marsden have endorsed the production but are not involved in it.

JOHN Marsden and Shaun Tan’s 1998 picture book The Rabbits is a thin volume with a lot of story. It’s a tale of colonisation. A primordial landscape of burned ochre desert and limpid blue ­billabongs is disturbed by the arrival of a foreign race of rabbits.  There are no references in Marsden’s and Tan’s book to time and place, but the visual cues are obvious.


the rabbit1

The opera was in the nominees list for the International Opera Awards 2016.

More information can be found here.