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Chief Curator: Leontine Meijer-van Mensch, GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig, 1st stage opened 3 March, 2022

The new “permanent” exhibition at Leipzig, to be opened in several stages until 2023. The exhibit presents our current perspectives on disciplinary and institutional histories, particularly the museum’s entanglement in colonial collecting and the representation of non-European peoples during the colonial era. The exhibit looks into the work of collectors and researchers of the era. As a major example several displays and installations discuss Hans Meyer and his legacy as the “first person” to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. The presentation is designed around Meyer’s retrieval of a stone from Kilimanjaro’s summit as a souvenir, and the symbolism behind such trophy hunting for today’s societies in Germany and Tanzania. Berlin art collective PARA launched a collaborative campaign to return the summit stone, which the exhibit features at length in its chapter “Berge Versetzen / Moving Mountains.”

In addition, we provide diverse self-reflective glances into aspects of museum work that usually take place behind the scenes, i.e., “backstage”, such as restoration, provenance research, the repatriation of ancestral remains, and collaborative collection research with communities of implication. In the opening stages following summer 2022, the exhibition will discuss gender/sexuality, as well as the history of cultural anthropology and museum work under the communist regime in the GDR (East Germany, 1949-1990).

Intervention: “Pop Culture and Everyday Life: Politics, Health, and Sports / Games in Indigenous North America”

Curators: Silke Piwko and Frank Usbeck, Völkerkundemuseum Herrnhut, June 2021 – 31 Dec 2021

An intervention in the permanent exhibition at Herrnhut, discussing the role of pop culture in contemporary Indigenous North America. The exhibit presents posters, postage stamps, clothing, games, merchandise, and sports articles to discuss, e.g., the US presidential election of 2020, Indigenous sovereignty, public health campaigns on Covid-19, tuberculosis and other issues, as well as Indigenous sports, stars, and fandom.

“Plakatiert! Reflexionen des indigenen Nordamerika”

Curated by students of Ethnology and Curatorial Studies, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, presented at Weltkulturen-Museum Frankfurt (2019), chief curator: Markus Lindner.

Updated in a joint project by GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig and Karl-May-Museum Radebeul, presented at galerie KUB Leipzig (31 Oct 2020 – 28 Feb 2021).

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown in Saxony, the exhibit was open to the public for only two days. State Ethnographic Collections Saxony/GRASSI Museum Leipzig created a multimedia guide with a selection of posters and texts.

Intervention: “Greenland Today. Ullutsinni Kalaallit Nunaat”

Curators: Silke Piwko, Frank Usbeck, and India-Wiborada Piwko. Photos by India-Wiborada Piwko. Völkerkundemuseum Herrnhut, 28 June 2019 – 31 December 2020

An intervention in the Herrnhut permanent exhibition, presenting photos from Greenland, as well as souvenirs, toys, media, and pop music.

“Allerwärts. Herrnhut in der Welt des Tabaks”

Chief curator: Petra Martin. Völkerkundemuseum Herrnhut (Staatliche Ethnographische Sammlungen Sachsen / SES, Staatliche Kundstammlungen Dresden / SKD). 25 May – 27 October 2019.

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