To mark the centenary of the sale of the Danish West Indies, The Royal Library is putting on a large exhibition about the visual cultural history of the islands. The exhibition focuses on images and postcards in Danish archives and collections. And asks what the images from the island actually show – and what one is unable to see.
The three Caribbean islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John were Danish colonies for over 250 years, and the collections at The Royal Library, as also other Danish archives, are full of objects from this part of Denmark and the islands’ common history.
The exhibition focuses on the visual material that is in the library: maps, postcards, photographs, newspapers, etc. The many reproductions might perhaps seem to provide a direct window onto Denmark’s colonial past, but no reproduction is neutral, and generally speaking the images were created by and for those in power. The mapping of the islands, for example, was not just a neutral scientific registration but also the first step towards being able to portion out and exploit the land commercially. And the many beautiful illustrations of idyllic plantation life do not show the enslaved Africans, whose freedom and health were sacrificed by the plantation owners in the process of taming nature and cultivating the soil.
Read more at www.kb.dk
The Royal Library, The Black Diamond
Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1, Copenhagen, Denmark
May 19, 2017 to February 03, 2018