graphic design

& research







Riso print 42 x 59,4 cm

‘The pictures of objects stolen and displaced during colonial times bear multi-layered belongings.
They are the ghosts of hundreds of thousands of artefacts held on the European ground: above ground, behind glasses and vitrines, and mostly underground, stored in basements, archived in boxes. They live behind closed walls, exhibited in collections, decorating private spaces.

Most of the historical-cultural heritage of colonised lands is not accessible to their local inhabitants anymore, and whole generations on these lands have grown up without it. In European museums, they can be accessed by diasporas and displaced people, who themselves struggle with a complex sense of identity and belonging.

When the library of the KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) in Amsterdam closed in 2013, Mirelle van Tulder could pick up many books and magazines that were about to be thrown away. They became source material for her graphical work. In one of the magazines, she found a poem titled ‘Being Part European’ by Fijian poet Sam Simpson, which resonated with her own feeling of multiple and partial belongings. The poem felt like a manifest for her, whose life started in Fiji, after being born in New Zealand. Her mother is from Brazil, her father is Dutch and her sister was born in the Bahamas. Tulder has lived most of her life in the Netherlands and feels a connection with the poem and with the diasporic objects pictured in the KIT’s library books and magazines.’

- Quote by Loraine Furter, Foam Magazine #62: M/OTHERLANDS, September 2022.

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©Mirelle van Tulder
Chief Tropical Officer