Human Zoo

The age of colonial exhibitions

The new exhibition Human Zoo. The age of colonial exhibitions highlights the forgotten history of the 'human zoos'. The exhibition presents exceptional images and documents, some of which were never presented.

This traveling exhibition was first presented in 2012 in Paris (Musée du Quai Branly). From 9 November 2021, the exhibition will be on display at the AfricaMuseum in the context of the colonial exhibition of 1897, which took place 125 years ago in Tervuren. The museum invites visitors to think about the impact of 'human zoos'.

Although the exhibition focuses on the 'Congolese villages' of Tervuren, Antwerp (1885 and 1894) and Brussels (1958), it also places the phenomenon in an international context, showing how peoples from all countries were exhibited. Some of them did not survive.

All these exhibitions - between popular entertainment and scientific fascination - welcomed more than one and a half billion of curious visitors who came to see the 'other', presented as 'inferior'.

The artists Teddy Mazina and Romeo Mivekannin have made an important contribution to the exhibition. 

The museum will also offer a broad cultural programme. Monthly lectures will be held on topics such as colonisation, decolonisation and (anti)racism.

The curators of the exhibition are Pascal Blanchard (ACHAC) and Maarten Couttenier and Mathieu Zana Etambala (both associated with the AfricaMuseum).



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Temporary exhibition

Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren