Migration has occurred throughout human history, and even the forefathers of the vast majority of the Dutch population were of foreign ancestry. Migration reshapes identities and language, but also defines the way we think about concepts such as “country” and “home”. Migration is not only an issue with social, political and economic consequences, it is also a subject of art. The Stedelijk Museum presents works from the collection that illustrate different chapters in migration history. From Dutch migrants arriving at Ellis Island in the 1900s, to Indonesian-Dutch repatriates at Camp Budel in 1958. From Surinamese-Dutch residents of the Bijlmer in 1975, to the young Almerisa in a Dutch asylum seekers centre, and the Syrian refugees in modern-day Turkey. The exhibition includes documentary images of migrants and displaced people along with photographic work that questions the portrayal of refugees in the media. Featuring works are created by artists such as Rineke Dijkstra, Marlene Dumas, Otobong Nkanga and Barbara Visser. The curator of the exhibition is Leontine Coelewij.
MUSEUM STAFF IN THE PICTURE, STAD EN TAAL: MEET ART
STEDELIJK MUSEUM AMSTERDAM
A considerable number of Stedelijk Museum employees, many of whom are members of the security team, once took a Dutch language or civic integration course themselves. What do they think of working in a museum for modern and contemporary art? What are their stories? As part of the course ‘City and Language’ (‘Stad en Taal’), cultural anthropologist Dunja Gasper was invited to interview some of these members of staff. Photographer Koos Breukel took their portraits. The people who are still working at the Stedelijk are featured in the gallery below.
‘Stad en Taal’ is the banner under which a variety of museums in Amsterdam provided special programmes for people taking the course ‘Dutch as a Second Language’ (Nt-2), and civic integration training, between 2006 and 2007. The Stedelijk Museum was one of those museums. The programme emphasized interaction, encouraging student input, and cultural exchange, aimed at building a bridge between the students, the city of Amsterdam, and art and culture. With ‘Stad en Taal’, the Stedelijk looked at how it could act as a meeting place for people with international roots. Throughout a trial year, students, language teachers, artists, students, scholars and museum staff worked together on the programme ‘Meet Art’ (‘Ontmoet kunst’). Together, they developed a preparatory lesson, a museum visit, and a concluding assignment. Students and museum staff also teamed up with artist Frank Koolen to design a walk for ‘people who aren’t in a hurry’. Stedelijk staff who had learned the Dutch language as adults (or were still in the process of learning it) were also asked to share their experiences.