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United Nations Outreach Programme on Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery Hosts Rijksmuseum’s Slavery Remembrance Exhibition at Headquarters, 23 February

RijksmuseumThe Ten True Stories exhibition focuses on slavery in the Dutch colonial era, from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century — in Brazil, Suriname and the Caribbean, as well as in South Africa, Asia and the Netherlands itself.  It presents 10 true personal stories of people who were enslaved, people who profited from the system of slavery and people who raised their voices against it. In observance of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, the United Nations Outreach Programme on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery is pleased to partner with the Rijksmuseum and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations to host the exhibition entitled Slavery: Ten True Stories of Dutch Colonial Slavery on display from 27 February to 30 March at the United Nations Headquarters Visitors’ Lobby. The Rijksmuseum is the Netherlands’ national museum of art and history.  It connects people, art and history.  It offers an overview of Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages to the present day.  The museum aims to devote attention to all aspects of Dutch history, of which slavery forms an integral part.  From 18 May to 29 August 2021, the Rijksmuseum staged its first ever exhibition dedicated to the subject of slavery.  This exhibition is designed by Afaina de Jong at AFARAI agency, Amsterdam.  The artwork design is made by Irma Boom at Irma Boom Office, Amsterdam.  The online version of this exhibition is still on view at the Rijksmuseum’s website. Colonial Slavery In New York, the 10 stories integral to the original Slavery exhibition will be presented around one single artifact: wooden foot stocks known as a tronco (from the Portuguese for “tree trunk”).  Several enslaved people would be forced to have their ankles clamped in the holes to constrain them — to subject them to corporal punishment and prevent from escaping.  The foot stocks symbolize the more than 1 million people who were shipped in from around the world and forced to work, whether on plantations, as craftspeople, in mines, in transportation or on military expeditions. United Nations Outreach Programme on Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery In response to the display of the exhibit, Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, remarked: “The legacy of centuries of enslavement, exploitation, and colonial rule reverberates to this day.  We must learn and teach the history of slavery:  the crime against humanity; the unprecedented mass human trafficking; the unspeakable human rights violations.  Behind the facts and figures are millions of human stories of untold suffering and pain.  But, also, stories of awe-inspiring resilience, courage and defiance against the cruelty of oppressors.  This powerful exhibition calls on us all to put an end to racism and injustice in our own time and make inclusive societies based on dignity and rights a reality everywhere.” Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative Bryan Stevenson will be the featured speaker.  Other notable speakers include the head of Rijksmuseum, Valika Smeulders; General Director of the Rijksmuseum, Taco Dibbits; Director of the Barbados Museum & Historical Society, Alissandra Cummins; Head of the International Slavery Museum, Richard Benjamin; and narrators Susi and Simba Mosis.  For more information, please contact Omyma David at email:  david17@un.org. Press Preview and Photo Call (23-24 February) Please contact Omyma David at email:  david17@un.org to schedule, and visit the media accreditation website for more information on accessing the United Nations. About the Exhibition Members of the press are invited to preview the exhibition on 23 February from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on 24 February from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with a photo opportunity between 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Funding for the Rijksmuseum’s Slavery exhibition was made possible in part by the Mondriaan Fund, Blockbuster Fund, Fonds 21, DutchCulture, Democracy & Media Foundation, Stichting Thurkowfonds, Boomerang Agency and via the Rijksmuseum Fonds: Scato Gockinga Fonds, Fonds de Zuidroute, Zusjes Nieuwbeerta Fonds, Fonds Dirk Jan van Orden, Henry M. Holterman Fonds and Bestuursfonds Hollandse Meesters. The Outreach Programme on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery was established in 2007 with the adoption of United Nations General Assembly resolution 62/122.  The Programme raises awareness of the history of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans, its impact on the modern world, and its legacies, including racism and prejudice.  Committed to peace, dignity and equality for all on a healthy planet the United Nations is an international organization founded in 1945.  Currently made up of 193 Member States, the United Nations has evolved to keep pace with a rapidly changing world and its work remains guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter. Invitation to Expert Meeting on Dutch Colonial Slavery Originally curated and displayed in 2021 by Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the Netherlands’ national museum of art and history, the adapted version of the Rijksmuseum’s Slavery exhibition will be open to the public from 27 February to 30 March in the Visitors’ Lobby of the United Nations Headquarters.  Please refer to the United Nations Visitor Centre entry guidelines for information how to access the building.  The poster version of the exhibition will be made available for display until 31 December 2024 at other United Nations offices worldwide. Tronco On Thursday, 30 March, the Department of Global Communications Outreach Programme on the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery, in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam will also host an expert meeting on museums and the colonial past.  The moderated discussion will focus on the history of slavery as a controversial theme in many countries and highlight the current efforts by museums to include the voices of people of African descent; the importance and focus of ongoing research; inclusive programming; and dealing with the colonial past. During the colonial era (1600-1900), under European rule, parts of the Americas, Africa and Asia were colonized or used as trading posts.  Millions of women, men and children were enslaved and shipped from Africa and Asia to distant destinations.  They, their children and the many generations that followed were subjected to a system of forced labour that dehumanized, objectified and often subjected them to violence on the basis of their skin colour or religion.  Colonial slavery was a legalized system in which people were reduced to tradable property.  This form of slavery was abolished in the nineteenth century.  Since then, successive international declarations have defined slavery as a crime against humanity.


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