research & publishing

hidden histories

Riso print 42 x 59,4 cm

When the library of the KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) in Amsterdam closed in 2013, Mirelle was able to collect many catalogs and magazines that were about to be thrown away. She assembled a small library of her own that became source material for her work. In one of the magazines she found a poem titled “Being Part European,” written in 1974, by the Fijian poet Sam Simpson.

The poem has been translated into a series of panels in which Mirelle replaces the categorizing captions of photos and objects with sentences from the poem. By giving a voice to the objects and people depicted in the photographs, she questions the traditional use of captions. What stories do these objects whisper to each other, across the gutters of the compositions and through the walls of the shelves?

Mirelle's practice delves into the colonial archive, seeing its complexity not only as an incredibly vast collection of objects and documents, but also understanding its position concerning personal history. Mirelle thus combines the use of the archived material and its historical position, determined by displacement, with its poetic performativity as a prompt to point to the historical record of the many colonized areas in the Global South.

Featured in Foam Magazine #62: M/OTHERLANDS, September 2022.

Riso prints are available at:
Foam Editions

Poetic Interventions, Het Hem, Zaandam 2022
Saturday 1 Oct 18:00
Monday 3 Oct 18:00
Sunday 23 Oct 18:00

Poetic Intervention, Foam Amsterdam 2023
Thursday 20 April 18:00

With an introduction by Wonu Veys, Curator Oceania at the National Museum of World Cultures.⁠

©Mirelle van Tulder
Chief Tropical Officer