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September 29, 2017 @ 18:30 - October 27, 2017 @ 17:00

The exhibition Y/Our Colonial Gaze offers glimpses from the image archive of the Basler Afrika Bibliographien. It displays photographs from the German photographers Ruth Dammann and Anneliese Scherz and from the Swiss journalist Hans Jenny who took photographs in Namibia and South Africa in the 1950s and 1960s.

The exhibition concept attempts to build bridges between artistic, curatorial and academic perspectives. It is determined by questions on positionality and asks  the audience to enter into dialogue with the images on display, view historical difference critically and reflect about current colonial phantasies.

Our culturally, politically and historically informed perspectives of today are embedded in complex (post-) colonial fields and tensions. In this exhibition our perspectives are put into question.

The exhibition´s narratives concern subjective processes of selection, political criteria and choices, and address uneasiness and challenges, apart from the impossibility to ask people related to the images, including the photographers, for their permission and about their own version of related histories.

What makes photographs from the colonial period problematic?

How can we define, read and characterise colonial aesthetics?

Who is allowed to determine which images and which documents to display for a larger public?

Where are the limits of curiosity?

visual regimes / photographic and colonial aesthetics / discourses on violence and power / colonial image archives / multi-perspectives / questions on identity / postcoloniality


Talks & Presentations

Thursday 5.10, 10.30am: “Colonial Photography and Portraits” by Prof. Dr. Gesine Krüger (UZH) (in German)

Wednesday 18.10, 6.15pm: „Conversations with the Past. Personal and Cultural photographs from the 1980s”. By Biddy Partridge (South African photographer, London)

Wednesday 25.10., 5pm: “Colonial Photography Archives and Visual History in Namibia”. By Dr. Lorena Rizzo (Harvard)

Friday 27.10. 6pm: Closing event


September 29, 2017 @ 18:30
October 27, 2017 @ 17:00
Event Category:


Basler Afrika Bibliographien
+41 61 228 93 33


Basler Afrika Bibliographien
Klosterberg 23
Basel, 4051 Switzerland
+ Google Map
+41 61 228 93 33

Opening Hours

Tuesday – Friday
10am – 1pm and
2pm – 5pm.
For access to special collections please make an appointment.


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