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Congo Gaze – People, Encounters and Artifacts

Exhibition experiment opens to the public in THE RED ZONE 23 September 2016.

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From left: Isabelle Riziki Maroy engaged in a work/study position, Gabriel Kilimakas and Mirelle Sengi from the source community , Farideh Faramarzi Collection manager Foto: Tone Cecilie Karlgård

Congo gaze is an exhibition experiment where dialogue and engagement, input and feedback from the audience will be welcomed. The museum's largest collection from one country is from DR Congo. The collection represents the region's historic diversity and creativity while providing resonation to current events and trends.

Long term relationship

On the basis of an already existing, long term, relationship between the museum and the Congolese community in Norway, this project has emerged. Through connecting to and studying the museum’s collection Congolese people will identify objects that from their perspective is particularly interesting.

Why are objects from Congo in Oslo?

The majority of the objects were collected by the Norwegians who worked for King Leopold's reign of terror; Congo Free State, in the period 1885 -1908. The collection also contains more contemporary Objects collected by Social Anthropologists and donated by missionaries and other private sources.

The collection includes a wide variety of objects such as sculptures , musical instruments , baskets, jewelry, household and production tools and spears. The collection and each item represents Congo's historic diversity and creativity.The artifacts in the collection also resonated to trends and events today.


Plans, aims and possible outcomes

In June 2015 the project started out. Isabelle Maroy, was engaged in a work/study position to work on developing the project in cooperation with the museum, she invited people from the Congolese community and they have made visits to the museums storage to initiate the work on identifying objects that gives resonance and evoke knowledge. By now Isabelle Maroy is working more in depth with the collections.

The collection may also provoke issues and contexts that link the objects to memories, events, experiences, dreams and visions of the future that has relevance for Congolese communities and society today both in DR Congo as well as in Norway.The educational potential in strengthening the knowledge about Congolese culture and history among the children of Congolese family background is also of great value.

As the project evolves it will provide the background for creating an exhibit where in addition to using the museum's collections, other types of materializations will be activated to present life worlds and reflect upon their life in the diaspora.

As a step in this process, in September 2016, the Congo Gaze project will present an exhibtion experiment in the museums Red Zone. The aim is to show objects from the Collections and in various ways invite people to contribute their stories and reflections upon both  the old museums objects as well as subjects/topics concerning contemporary life.

By Tone Cecilie Karlgård, Kjersti Larsen
Published July 1, 2016 4:11 PM - Last modified Apr. 26, 2022 11:30 AM

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