Sites for unlearning in the museum

29 Jan 2019 Nancy Jouwe

As a writer committed to telling stories, I have endeavored to represent the lives of the nameless and the forgotten, to reckon with loss, and to respect the limits of what cannot be known.
—Saidiya Hartman[1]

[1] Saidiya Hartman, “Venus in Two Acts,” Small Axe, Indiana University Press, no. 26 (2008): 4.

Can we find sites for unlearning in the arts sector? And if they were there, would we recognize them? In 2018, the year of the dog, we find ourselves in a new reality in terms of questions that Dutch museums ask themselves and actions that they take as they question themselves as institutions. Or, at least some of them do.[1] Not too long ago, at the beginning of the new millennium, things were looking quite stale. The fact that our rapidly globalizing world was impacting our local and daily lives more and more seemed to be passing museums by, especially the larger (art) museums. Els van der Plas, then director of the Prince Claus Fund (for progressive culture and development, established by the Dutch Parliament), said in 2007: Museums have for a very long time excluded a larger part of the world. Their knowledge and focus is on Euro-American developments in the arts. And because they are based on that Western tradition, they don’t have the knowledge on offer and find it threatening if you open up the world; as a museum, you then cease to be an expert.[2]

This process of exclusion triggered another art fund, the Mondriaan Foundation (now Mondriaan Fund, the largest publicly-financed fund for visual art and cultural heritage in the Netherlands) to come up with their Diversity Prize in 2006 (more on that later). The current dynamics are also being pushed from the outside into the realm of the museum. A case in point: Simone Zeefuik and Hodan Warsame, with others, started a critical conversation in 2015 under the heading “Decolonize The Museum,” which has developed into a prime example of how decolonial interventions have literally entered museum spaces. Originally starting the conversation with ethnographic museums, as the following quote shows, they’ve now expanded the conversation into a wider range of art spaces: Decolonize The Museum is an effort to confront the colonial ideas and practices present in ethnographic museums up until this day. We have worked throughout 2015 to stage a joint intervention in the Dutch National Museum of World Cultures. This intervention critiques the language, imagery and accessibility of its current exhibitions. Our intent is firstly to expose the violence perpetuated by ethnographic museums by critiquing its Eurocentrism, white supremacy, its assumed neutrality and its excuses of “only having so much time/space”. We base this critique on the museum experience of ourselves and our friends whose heritage is studied and analyzed, but who, ourselves, are seldom the target group of ethnographic museums. Simultaneously, we push a conversation about how—if at all—the ethnographic museum can contribute to reinstating the agency and histories of colonized peoples, life and territories. Last but not least, Decolonize The Museum is about educating and challenging the organization so that neo-liberal conceptions of ‘diversity’ do not become the limit of change for these institutions.[3]  Utrecht-based art hub Casco Art Institute and collaborator Annette Krauss asked me to write about unlearning practices within Dutch art institutions as expressions of decolonial thinking since not much has been written on this. I thought it was a great question, although I wasn’t sure I could address it properly. In the end, I can only offer some of my experiences and, within the confines of this article, I will mostly draw on examples from Dutch museums.

In this article, I want to centralize the following questions: How can we engage in practices of unlearning in the arts sector? How can we read or understand these practices as decolonial processes? What factors helped or hindered these practices? I will do so by sharing vignettes of my experiences in the arts sector over twenty years and what they have taught me. Secondly, I will use the case of the Diversity Prize, issued in 2006, and focus on one of the contenders, the Centraal Museum (for art and culture, Utrecht’s main municipal museum). I won’t necessarily provide sufficient answers to the above questions, but hopefully the examples offer food for thought.

To Decolonize
Decolonial thinking is not widely exercised within today’s Dutch academic institutions, quite the contrary, and this is even more the case within the arts sector. Yet we have seen, in the past three years or so, decolonial thinking and practices become more and more prominent for a relatively small but vocal group of activists, writers, and thinkers—who are unsurprisingly often people

of color—in places such as Middelburg, Eindhoven, Arnhem, Utrecht, and Amsterdam. I already mentioned the Decolonize The Museum initiative; blogger/researcher Egbert Martina, researcher Patricia Schor, and visual artist Patricia Kaersenhout are just a few examples. Academic Rolando Vázquez co-organizes a successful annual decolonial summer school in Middelburg that has been running since 2010, and recently two more summer schools were started in Amsterdam. Similarly, initiatives such as the Black Archives and University of Colour (respectively, an archive containing the legacy of black writers and scientists, and a working group that aims to decolonize the university; both founded in Amsterdam in 2015), and the Black Heritage Tours in Amsterdam (a guided tour of African legacies of the past and diverse Dutch culture, since 2013) adhere to decolonial thinking. To decolonize has become a leading notion in efforts to expose and explore “global” politics (how global geopolitical issues have consequences on a local level and vice versa), to push for transgressive choices and voices (in the sense that it pushes through hegemonic canonical Western boundaries), and to inspire other ways to look at and transform the world. Hence, because decolonial practices are many different things to different people, they are ultimately both a source of inspiration and sometimes also pose a danger to themselves, in that the term decolonial is also being used as a buzzword without content.
For clarity, I will briefly touch upon some key concepts. Central to decolonial thinking is the conflation of coloniality and modernity as a matrix of power.[4] Coloniality/modernity are purposefully paired as concepts that inhabit two sides of the same coin and continue to influence our present-day lives. The beginning of modernity is connected to 1492 and Columbus’ so-called discovery of the Americas, that time when Europe started to see itself as Europe and a Western civilization deeply interconnected with the violence of colonialism was being developed. Coloniality/modernity means that racism, colonialism, and the consumption of lives are not aberrations of but constitutive to modernity; there is no progress without violence and no development without poverty.

Within this constellation, Europe produces and needs an alterity (Europe vs other) in order to reaffirm itself and claim a superior position. This constellation of coloniality/modernity works on a material/institutional and symbolic level. A system of appropriation is established through the (continued) appropriation of land (for example, indigenous peoples’ lands), and of bodies (for example, slavery and forced labor, including sexual labor). This is accompanied by a system of representation in which ideas about reality, visibility, and world history are (re)produced. This system of representation can be found in the museum and the university; they both function as pillars of Western knowledge and subjectivity.

As a member of diaspora communities from the Asia-Pacific region, I recognize this. Our Papuan-Dutch community shares collective living memories of being uprooted, disconnected, forgotten, and traumatized, as if nothing but postcolonial waste. Our (grand)parents’ lives were far removed from important notions of belonging, recognition, and cultural and political

citizenship. Meanwhile, human remains of Papuans gathered during colonial times still lie in storage at the Tropenmuseum (museum of the tropics; an ethnographic museum in Amsterdam). This is a real and yet painful expression of the same logic.

Coloniality is different from colonialism in that coloniality does not need colonialism to function, its logic exists by way of continuing the “hidden process of expropriation, exploitation, pollution, and corruption that underlies the narrative of modernity, as promoted by institutions and actors belonging to corporations, industrialized nation-states, museums, and research institutions.”[5] In other words, coloniality is the underlying logic of colonialism that continues beyond it.
Decolonial thinking functions as a critique of the hegemony of Western imperialist thinking and its continuation in our current-day institutionalized lives. It proposes epistemic disobedience[6] by denouncing modernity/coloniality, which has informed and organized our lives, and by opening up a space of thinking and being that reaches beyond this closed matrix of power.

Decoloniality then, appears in between modernity/coloniality as an opening, as a possibility of overcoming their completeness. It means that there is an alternative to modernity, which starts by revealing and showing modernity as a locality posing as a global design with universal pretenses.

How can we move beyond a singular notion of the truth? How can we unveil the erasures and negations that modernity/coloniality has produced? How can we have other conversations and realities? How can that which is suppressed re-emerge? These are decolonial questions, they propose an existence that has a different relationship with time and space, a different temporality

from the one that modernity offers. Instead, a decoloniality of aesthetics, knowledge, and being is proposed.

Decolonizing a museum, then, starts by looking at the museum as a site where European culture, the nation state, and national memory are consolidated and function as an expression of the Western self. Art museums, like all museums, display modernity through representations of the Western self or the memory of the West. Similarly, coloniality is at work by offering an idea of whiteness while othering sub/dehumanized/racialized/colonized others, like in ethnological museums.[7] This can, but does not necessarily, work in the same way for art spaces and galleries at large, so for the purpose of this article and steering clear of oversimplification, I will stick with the museum sector (i.e. art, ethnographic, and cultural-historical). Thus, to decolonize is to think about how museums have institutionalized representations of modernity/coloniality through controlling narrative, having the power to name and mute, and steering notions of how to relate to the past.

To Unlearn
The practice and process of unlearning are at the core of both decolonial and postcolonial thinking processes.[8] Following the current interest of the arts sector in Europe’s colonial history and the necessity to unveil hidden stories, deconstruct dominant paradigms, and centralize the work of artists searching for alternative futures, it becomes even more relevant to connect unlearning to the arts sector.[9] This is not necessarily a new development but the current developments, as this volume shows, are quite exciting. Casco Art Institute has dedicated itself to becoming an exemplary site for unlearning, focusing on how organizational bodies can unlearn systemic modes of oppression and make new, healthier habits, thus denouncing the devaluation of reproductive labor for economic gain, as described in more depth in other articles in this volume.

Coloniality at Work
Let’s start with how this can play out on a personal level. I love roaming through large and small art spaces. My private conversations with the art pieces I encounter invoke strong affective responses that inspire me. It feeds the senses. Similarly, having played in several music groups, I cherish the feelings of joy I’ve felt when creating and performing together.

I’ve had the opportunity to organize art prizes for women and exhibits of women artists since 1997 through the feminist fund Mama Cash (a public-private international fund for feminist activism based in Amsterdam). In 2006, I started at Kosmopolis Utrecht (an intercultural, multimedia platform for art and culture), working with visual and performative artists like Michael McMillan, Marcel Pinas, Raj Mohan, Denise Jannah, Quinsy Gario, and others. We mostly worked outside of museum spaces, in galleries, churches, or public spaces such as schools, and open air in the streets, alongside roads or railway stations. This was done for several reasons: we wanted to make the work of artists more accessible to audiences who would not typically step into museums and we also did not want to bother with restrictions to do with time, space, and dominant notions of quality (more on quality later). But maybe, most importantly, we wanted to create spaces of representation that were not seen as temples of Western culture, as museums are often perceived, although many museums are trying to get rid of this perception. As such, Kosmopolis was proposing a decolonial option, without necessarily wording it that way.
In working with artists, we also worked within a larger context of communities who had a vested interest in the narratives that these artists would convey. This meant creating a space of co-creation with (members of) the community, evolving into a space of co-ownership.

These experiences helped me in understanding the importance of non-institutional spaces, unheard voices and stories, the importance of critical interventions by artists, and the need for non-hegemonic communal artistic practices. These experiences taught me valuable lessons on the interconnectedness of the personal and the political (within the arts) and harnessed me against

the more depressing aspects of the arts domain and academia.

I’ll share a vignette. As a student at Utrecht University, around 1990, I took some classes in art history. For class, we had to read The Story of Art by E.H. Gombrich, a classic. But we were told to skip the section on non-Western art. This was done without much disclosure on why, as if it were self-evident. Meta Knol, the director of Museum de Lakenhal (Leiden’s municipal museum of history and fine art), had the exact same experience at the same university.[10]
In another class, we watched a film clip in which a building of flats crashed to the ground in a neighborhood where predominantly black folks lived. I can’t remember the exact location but let’s say the Bronx, NYC. The effortless way in which some of my fellow students starting joking about how they hoped its inhabitants were still in the building, thus displaying utter disrespect for the human dignity of black people, made my nappy hair stand on end. As the single black person in the room I looked at the teacher, urging her nonverbally to speak. I remember saying something myself—or wanting to. I can’t really remember anymore. But I stopped taking art history classes as a result. The violence drained me. In hindsight, this experience must have been traumatic since I have forgotten how it really went down.

A second vignette refers to the infinite whiteness of Dutch art spaces, on how white presence and thinking is the unspoken norm. In April 2014 I was graciously invited by curator Mirjam Westen to open an art show called Don’t Support the Greedy by Esiri Erheriene-Essi, a black female award-winning visual artist. It was her first big show in the Netherlands, taking place in the Arnhem Museum (a municipal museum of modern, contemporary, and applied art and design). This was a celebratory moment for her of course, but I felt jubilant as well, as it was a rare occasion to have someone like her and her artistic vision be the central focus in a Dutch museum space.
Within minutes of meeting each other (for the first time) we sort of laughed hysterically together because of the whiteness of the space. We had both noticed instantly that she and I were (at that moment) the only two black people in the room. We laughed because we immediately understood what the other was thinking and feeling, we laughed because it released tension and this was how we dealt. After this invigorating intermezzo, we pulled ourselves up and mingled in this white space, as we were used to doing.

In my speech, I referred to race a couple of times and spoke about its absence and the myth of a post-racial society, I also referred to Edward Said and Gloria Wekker’s concept of the cultural archive since I was reminded of how, in her work, Esiri Essi tries to shoot holes into this archive. The audience looked at me in bewilderment, some not knowing how to react. Afterwards, the proverbial elderly white woman came up to me to ask why I spoke such good Dutch. She demanded an explanation. Usually this is supposed to be a “compliment” (“wat spreek je goed Nederlands!”)—there is always someone who goes there. In this case, the person was better informed: she knew who I was, and that I was partly Papuan. This time, her subtext meant that I was betraying “my people” with my “flawless” Dutch. I gathered this while interacting convivially with her.
Her comments showed that she had a depressingly singular, primitive notion of the Papuan. My presence or representation of a Papuan confused and disturbed her; I did not act in the way I was supposed to. She wasn’t capable of looking at me as a fully-blown human being with all its layers and contradictions, the label Papuan had prevented that. She could not fathom that I was born and raised in the Netherlands and that, considering the topics I covered in my talk while speaking flawless Dutch, I had probably had some form of higher education.

To Delink
These examples show how the museum, despite great curators and artists, can still function as a violent contact zone for people like me. These are not isolated incidents and it’s not just about me; for this is coloniality in practice, the everyday utterings of a system. To become aware of this is part of the process of unlearning. I detached myself from this dreadful personal encounter by

realizing we are both caught in this Western system, bearing in mind that the proverbial elderly white woman and I have different work to do because we inhabit different temporalities and speak from different levels of knowledge (of course, I cannot be sure what her learning moment consisted of). By detaching I was delinking, a conscious decolonial act where I denounce this Western knowledge structure to look for a space that acknowledges and engages with my reality. Delinking involves not just changing the content of (sometimes literal) conversation but also the terms. On what terms are we having this conversation? Similarly, in my earlier example of Kosmopolis Utrecht’s work on cocreation, a space was provided for voices and ideas that traditionally are not offered any form of curatorial agency in a museum space. This too, can be seen as an act of delinking. It enables us to engage actively in practices of unlearning.

Come On. We’re Beyond the Dutch
In 2006, a Diversity Prize for the Dutch art sector was issued, officially called Stimuleringsprijs voor Culturele Diversiteit (incentive prize for cultural diversity). An initiative of the Mondriaan Foundation (as it was then known), the prize consisted of half a million euros. The underlying mission for a diversity prize was triggered by the fact that art museums in the Netherlands did not relate well enough with the current multicultural reality of the Netherlands and current twenty-first century global art dynamics. The Netherlands was lagging, in comparison to other European countries. Gitta Luiten, then director of the Mondriaan Foundation, said during the delivery of the prize in 2006 that museums have to adjust to the fact that the Western world isn’t white anymore. The combination of a diversity prize combined with a large sum of money brought about an enormous wave of criticism. Journalists, politicians, and the art sector itself saw it as a threat to artistic autonomy, too much meddling from an art fund, and fueling needless competition between museums. The winner of the prize was the Van Abbemuseum (a museum for contemporary and modern art in Eindhoven) who could then execute their ambitious project Be(com)ing Dutch, which consisted of an exhibition, a caucus, gatherings, and an extensive website. The central question to their project was: What does it mean to be Dutch in a globalizing world? Is it a process of becoming or a static affair of being? Hence the wordplay of be(com)ing. The prize was issued only once and, although the Mondriaan Foundation wanted to continue it some four years later, the then State Secretary of Culture Halbe Zijlstra was keen on severe budget cuts and bestowed a bleak political wind upon our cultural landscape.

The Centraal Museum was tipped within the sector as a serious contender for the prize, and due to financial support from the Mondriaan Foundation they were able to develop their plan into the exhibition Beyond the Dutch: Indonesia, the Netherlands and Visual Arts From 1900 Until Now, which ran from October 2009 until January 2010. It consisted of an exhibition, a publication (KIT Publishers, 2011), and a side program called Beyond Java, which Museum Maluku (a museum in Utrecht—closed in 2012—dedicated to the story of the Moluccans in and outside the Netherlands) and Kosmopolis Utrecht codeveloped. The exhibition was hailed in most media and brought in new audiences. More on some criticism of that, later.

The original plan, developed by the late Michael Zeeman, focused on Edward Said’s book Orientalism (1978). Curator Meta Knol was assigned to develop it into a curatorial concept and wanted to include contemporary art. She decided to focus on Indonesia, invited Indonesian artists, and co-curated the exhibit with Indonesian curator Enin Supriyanto. During her research visits to Indonesia she spoke with Ade Darmawan, director of art collective ruangrupa (an artists’ initiative with a focus on urban issues and collaborative projects in Jakarta), and asked him if he saw Dutch influences in current Indonesian visual art, to which he answered, “Oh no. Come on, we’re beyond the Dutch!” Hence, the title of the exhibition was born. The starting point for Beyond the Dutch was to look at the cultural heritage of colonialism, cultural influences, and the dramatic changes that the process of decolonization produced over a timespan of one hundred years. The aim was to disconnect the art pieces from an ethnographic discourse and instead show them as autonomous works, from an art history perspective. Three chronological periods were covered: the colonial time (1900), the consequences of decolonization and independence (circa 1950), and the current period of post-colonialism (circa 2000). Over forty artists were on show, including FX Harsono, Tintin Wulia, Tiong Ang, Heri Dono, Raden Saleh, Jan Toorop, Isaac Israels, Affandi, Hendra Gunawan, Sudjojono, Indieguerillas, Fiona Tan, Agus Suwage, Roy Villevoye, Hadassah Emmerich, Mirjam Bürer, and others.

Starting a Conversation
Some of Meta Knol’s colleagues had doubts about the focus on Indonesia because they were concerned about the lack of quality it would bring. They had associations with copy art, ethnography, furniture, and room screens: “Alle stereotypen kwamen langs” (every stereotype was mentioned), according to Knol.[11] Similarly, artists and colleagues expressed a fear Indonesian art would be second-rate derivatives from “Western high art.” Here we see a deeply embedded cultural archive at work, where ideas of Western superiority are translated into canonical hierarchical notions of what is considered high and low art. It shows the pressing necessity to not just focus on content and curatorial choices but unpack the deeper implications of the museum as an institution.

What does it take to unlearn old Western thought patterns? And are we, in 2018, better equipped to tackle this? Knol’s aim for the exhibition was to show the art pieces as autonomous

works, and for ethnographic discourse to be kept out of the way. This is consistent with how Knol had positioned herself as an actor in the Dutch art discourse at the time.[12] Knol was trying to flip the script. Although admirable, these efforts do not necessarily problematize the binary opposition of ethnographic art versus autonomous art (as the highest form of art). Instead, a danger lurks; that of reproducing this binary and locking the Indonesian artists into a Eurocentric framework.[13] Another aspect to consider is that as an institution the Centraal Museum hardly, if at all, considered the uneven power relations that were at work, leaving their institution untouched, as if it was not implicated. It is an unfair burden to put on Knol alone as it implies so much more and everyone in the institution is implicated in this process. If institutional power dynamics remain untouched, a process of unlearning is hard to make and will probably not succeed. In relation to the exhibition, professor Susan Legêne was keen on a more self-reflexive and critical reading of the Netherlands as a former colonial empire, driven by expansion and a memory of an expansive past, wherein inequalities and hierarchical differences are reproduced.[14] She emphasized that art and museums are sections or parts of these mechanisms, and the role or implicit authority of the museum as an institution was not problematized.[15] A relevant commentary, especially since the focus was on Indonesia and the Dutch East Indies.

The Centraal Museum example shows that a conversation was started, but the question remains of whether it was developed into a necessary practice of unlearning. One thing is for sure: the main players during that time, directors Pauline Terreehorst and Edwin Jacobs, and curator Meta Knol, have all left the Centraal Museum. What has happened since within the institution? Interestingly, new developments seem to indicate they want to reconnect withquestions posed during the Beyond the Dutch period.

To Conclude
To engage in practices of unlearning in the arts sector involves becoming aware that we come from different contexts as people in a museum or art space, and these different contexts matter, thus a single narrative will not suffice. A mere (re)production of a singular white Western gaze simply won’t cut it anymore in the twenty-first century.

As an institution which canonizes and represents ideas of nationhood and belonging, museums have immense representational power. They can invoke feelings of pride but also exclusion, even becoming spaces of symbolic violence. These processes of exclusion occur on different levels: via language, the architecture (including accessibility), the people who visit, and the collections on display, including how they are narrated and visualized.

Museums are part of a certain space and time, where living memories become discourses or objects in the museum. Being aware of this might start a decolonial conversation and can open up ways to unlearn as a museum. Thus, internal processes are key for museum staff. A single visionary curator/director/ producer will be frustrated in her or his accomplishments if others stay detached. This could mean becoming aware of how binary oppositions work in the arts sector (as mentioned earlier) or looking at key factors like autonomy and quality (for example, the prejudice that Indonesian artists are unable to bring artistic quality). Decolonial examples exist through the wonderful work of artists, activists, and cultural entrepreneurs who offer alternative ideas, teach us through the senses, bring unknown herstories to the fore, and invite us to expand. Artists (often literally) lend their bodies and perspectives, using their own realities instead of those from Western modern civilization they are capable of moving beyond it, thus showing us paths to delink and unlearn. What does this mean for Dutch citizens? The hindrances referred to in this article point to a lack of knowledge and sheer ignorance, to the point that one is ignorant of their own ignorance. And it also involves not wanting to give up power.

When a process of rising awareness does take place, let’s not get stuck in feelings of guilt. I know that for many people it is an obvious step towards becoming more aware but ultimately it is an unproductive position. Instead, we can use accountability as a more productive strategy or starting point which involves positioning yourself (including your relation to power). A concept which the Dutch arts sector is still quite unfamiliar with, but which is nonetheless useful, is intersectionality. This concept makes us aware on both personal and institutional levels how we are all positioned in a place of power or lack thereof due to interacting axes of difference. Intersectionality helps us in starting a conversation that does not shy away from our lived realities, for instance by looking at ways to unlearn privilege. It helps us all to tackle aspects of discrimination and empowerment: in ourselves, in our institutions, in our representations.

Jouwe, Nancy. “Sites for Unlearning in the Museum.” Unlearning Exercises. Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning. Edited by Binna Choi, Annette Krauss, Yolande van der Heide. Co-published by Casco Art Institute, Utrecht and Valiz, Amsterdam, 2018, pp. 129-143.


[1] I’m thinking of the Rijksmuseum and their push for changing the terms used in their collection descriptions; the Tropenmuseum for stepping into a process of becoming a postcolonial institute in the twenty-first century and what that entails; art center Witte de With announcing their name will be changed; Centraal Museum and their revamping of the collections display; and the Van Abbemuseum who revisited their Be(com)ing Dutch exhibit ten years later with the project Becoming More, to name a few
[2] Els van der Plas quoted in Fenneken Veldkamp, “Wat de Boer Niet Kent” (what the farmer does not know), ZAM Africa Magazine, vol 11, no. 2 (2007): 18. (Translation by the author.) Online: nl&password=9999&groups=NIZA&workgroup= (Accessed June 8, 2018).

[3] “Decolonize The Museum Conference April 16th 2016,” AFRO Magazine. Online: (Accessed June 8, 2018).

[4] Aníbal Quijano, “Coloniality and Modernity/Rationality,” Cultural Studies vol. 21, no. 2–3 (2007): 168–78.

[5] As explained by Rolando Vázquez, during the Decolonial Summer School, Middelburg, June 17, 2015.

[6] Alvina Hoffman, “Interview—Walter Mignolo/Part 2: Key Concepts,” E-INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS, (January 21, 2017). Online: (Accessed June 8, 2018).

[7] See footnote 6.

[8] Sara Danius, Stefan Jonsson, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, “An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak,” boundary 2, vol 20, no. 2 (Summer, 1993), 24–50; Madina Vladimirovna Tlostanova and Walter Mignolo, Learning to Unlearn: Decolonial Reflections from Eurasia and the Americas (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 2012).

[9] Nora Sternfeld. “Shaking the Status Quo*: Notes on Unlearning,” Inside the Mozosfera, no. 2 (September 2016); Annette Krauss, Sites for Unlearning: On the Material, Artistic and Political Dimensions of Processes of Unlearning, PhD diss. (Vienna: Vienna Academy of Fine Arts, 2017).

[10]Quoted in: Meta Knol, Beyond the Dutch: Indonesië, Nederland en de beeldende kunsten van 1900 tot nu [Indonesia, the Netherlands and the visual arts from 1900].

[11] Interview with Meta Knol by Nancy Jouwe, Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden, August 20, 2010 (unpublished).

[12] “Het onderscheid tussen westerse en nietwesterse kunst is achterhaald,” [The distinction between Western and non-Western art is outdated] NRC, Meta Knol and Lejo Schenk, January 2, 2010. Online: nieuws/2010/01/02/het-onderscheid-tussenwesterse- en-niet-westerse-kunst-11832313- a176574 (Accessed June 8, 2018); see also Edwin Jacobs, Meta Knol and Stijn Huijts, “Naar een mondig museum” [towards an empowered museum], NRC, December 2006. Online: 12/01/naar-een-mondig-museum-11237877-a236037 (Accessed June 8, 2018).

[13] Charles Esche, interviewed by Koen Kleijn and Stefan Kuiper, “Musea lopen verschrikkelijk achter” [museums are horribly behind], De Groene Amsterdammer, May 14, 2008. Online: (Accessed June 8, 2018).

[14] During the Framer Framed debate “De koloniale blik” [the colonial gaze], December 13, 2009, Centraal Museum, Utrecht.

[15] See Legêne’s points in the report of the symposium “Omstreden geschiedenis. Een symposium over de (re)presentatie van de Nederlands-Indonesische geschiedenis in musea” [concerned history: a symposium on the (re)presentation of Dutch-Indonesian history in museums]. Held at the Indo-European Memory Foundation, Arnhem, February 2012. Online: (Accessed June 8, 2018).