Kòrsou – Curaçao

Kòrsou – Curaçao

Kòrsou – Curaçao

The National Archives offers a wealth of information about Curaçao and its history. But these
documents, photographs and maps often only show the perspective of the old colonial rulers. The
Archives’ new exhibition Kòrsou - Curaçao combines these traditional sources with different visions
of the island. The Zikinzá collection, for example, is a unique collection of audio recordings which
provides a glimpse into the daily lives of Curaçao residents of the past. Through video interviews
Curaçao residents of the present will reflect upon the themes in the exhibition.

The Zikinzá collection consists of recordings of anecdotes, memories, rituals and songs made by Father Paul Brenneker and artist and philosopher Elis Juliana. Brenneker and Juliana visited elderly people on Curaçao and Bonaire in the 1950s and 1960s. They recorded what elderly Curaçaoans told about their lives and what they still knew of the lives of their immediate and distant ancestors.

Visitors of Kòrsou - Curaçao can view interviews and photographs made by photographer and documentary maker Selwyn de Wind. In addition, a wide variety of artists have contributed works that reflect upon the five themes in the exhibition: original inhabitants, slavery, resilience, society and governance. Featured artists are Quentley Barbara, Elvis Chen, Melissa Cijntje, Avantia
Damberg, Ruben La Cruz & Karolien Helweg, Travis Geertruida, Kevin Osepa, Imani Specht and Gilleam Trapenberg. The exhibition also features an exclusive Spoken Word recording by Rachel Rumai Diaz.

Gems of the National Archives Collection
Curaçaoans over the years have not had much say in whether and how they were described in archival collections. Their personal stories are therefore difficult to find in the traditional archives. Yet, in addition to records showing the perspective of the colonial rulers, remarkable historical documents are on display that show the strength and resilience of Curaçaoans. Examples of these are the long list of enslaved people who managed to escape to the mainland, the verdict of wela
Markita Kanga who dedicated herself to preserve her own traditions and culture, and the report of the first Island Council where Papiamentu was openly spoken.

Guest Curator
Dyonna Benett, a heritage professional who specializes in museology, public and inclusion is the guest curator of Kòrsou - Curaçao. The content of the exhibition was partly created after extensive consultation sessions with experts from both Curaçao and the Netherlands.
Programming and Education
As part of the Kòrsou - Curaçao exhibition, a varied program including debates, lectures and guided tours will be organised. The current offerings can be found on the website of the Nationaal Archief. In addition, the Nationaal Archief of the Netherlands, in cooperation with the Nationaal Archief Curaçao, has developed online lessons for group 7 and 8 of primary education in the Netherlands and on Curaçao.
Kòrsou - Curaçao can be visited from December 16, 2021 to October 23, 2022 in the National Archives in The Hague. The texts in the exhibition are offered in Papiamentu, Dutch and English. Because of the current COVID measures it is required to wear a mouth mask and keep 1.5 meters distance when visiting the National Archives. In addition, we ask for a corona access card with valid identification. No ticket or time slot needs to be booked prior to the visit.
Photography by  Selwyn de Wind