Unknown artist, Fright Figure «Kareau», Andamanen and Nikobaren, around 1900, Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, RJM 23331 | © Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Köln, Wolfgang Meier, rba d029031
How were Europeans depicted in the art of the colonized? In his book The Savage Hits Back or the White Men through Native Eyes (1937), Cologne museum director and ethnologist Julius Lips (1895–1950) compiled portrayals that show Europeans as “exotics” and barbaric foreigners. In these objects Lips, who was driven into exile by the Nazis, discovered a subversive critique of the “colonial masters.” Given the current debates over colonial-era collections, Lips’ anticolonial and antifascist polemics seem highly up-to-the-minute.
The exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt adopts Lips’ change of perspective and asks about the consequences of this first “inversive ethnology”. The exhibited objects and photographs address early contact stories, the entry of European commodities in local myths and rituals, the history of trade relations, mission and colonial wars.
Curated by Anna Brus in collaboration with Anselm Franke.
Part of Kanon-Fragen