Installation view of the exhibition Good Hope: South Africa and The Netherlands from 1600 at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, 14 February 2017; photo by Olivier Middendorp.
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Now on view at the Rijksmuseum:
Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 17 February — 21 May 2017
Curated by Martine Gosselink
The arrival of the Dutch changed South Africa forever. The population’s composition and the introduction of slavery by the VOC (the Dutch East India Company) resulted from ties with the Netherlands. But this also applies to the language, Afrikaans, the legal system, the protestant church, the introduction of Islam, the typical façades, and Dutch names on the map. The relationship with South Africa also changed the Netherlands. The Boer Wars around 1900, countless ‘Transvaal districts’ in Dutch cities, and the violent anti-apartheid struggle of the 1980s symbolise a continuously tempestuous relationship. In this exhibition, around 300 paintings, drawings, documents, photos, items of furniture, souvenirs, tools, and archaeological discoveries give a vivid impression of the culture shared and the influence reciprocated by the two countries.
Robert Jacob Gordon’s landscape panoramas, several metres long, occupy a prominent place in the exhibition. This Dutch traveller illustrated 18th-century South Africa, giving the country an identity. The imposing portraits of children born after 1994—when apartheid was abolished—by the South African photographer Pieter Hugo illustrate South Africa’s future. Along with the exhibition, the NTR (Dutch public-service broadcaster) will be broadcasting a seven-part TV series presented by Hans Goedkoop. The exhibition is produced under the directions of Martine Gosselink, Head of the History Department at the Rijksmuseum.
“The Good Hope exhibition illustrates a significant aspect of Dutch colonial history in all its nuances—a tale that is both painful and striking, but more especially disturbing and recognisable.”
–Adriaan van Dis, Dutch writer, Africa specialist, and the exhibition’s narrator
Symposium—Good Hope for a New Generation: Reflections on Diversity and Change in South Africa and the Netherlands, 5 April 2017
The aim of this symposium is for the Dutch and South Africans to learn from each other in building an open and diverse nation where talents can develop. For this symposium, two South African speakers are invited to reflect on the past and especially on the future of the new generation.
Martine Gosselink, Maria Holtrop, and Robert Ross, eds., Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600 (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2017), 376 pages, ISBN: 978 94600 43130, €35.
A richly illustrated book accompanies the exhibition, containing 56 contributions from 26 authors from the fields of literature, language, art history, archaeology, politics, and journalism.
Attributed to Robert Jacob Gordon, Upper (Northern) Half of Gordon’s ‘Great Map of Southern Africa, ca. 1786; ink, pencil, and watercolor on paper, 91.5 × 203 cm (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, RP-T-1914-17-3-A). More information and a high resolution image is available here»
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Press release (14 February 2017) from the Rijksmuseum:
Today the Rijksmuseum launches www.robertjacobgordon.nl through which all of Robert Jacob Gordon’s drawings, diaries and letters are made accessible to all for the first time. The 18th-century Dutch explorer documented South Africa’s inhabitants, flora, and fauna in more than 450 detailed drawings. He meticulously noted down in his diaries and letters everything he experienced during his expeditions. The drawings, which include unique 8-metre-long panoramas, form part of the collection at the Rijksmuseum. The diaries and letters are kept in the Brendhurst Library in Johannesburg. On the occasion of the exhibition Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600, all of Gordon’s diaries and drawings are reunited for the first time and thus present a comprehensive view of 18th-century South Africa.
Zoom in on 18th-Century South Africa
Through robertjacobgordon.nl, visitors are given a complete portrait of what Gordon encountered, and where. The site enables visitors to zoom in on the 18th-century map Gordon created alongside contemporary South Africa via Google Maps. The comparison revealed the uncanny accuracy of Gordon’s measurements. His diaries and letters are also made available digitally for the first time via the website. Gordon’s travel notes, discovered in 1960, are kept in the Brandhurst Library in Johannesburg. Through the website, these documents are made accessible for the first time. The original texts have been transcribed and translated into English for the occasion, with special functions linking Gordon’s texts to his drawings.
Robert Jacob Gordon
The 18th-century Dutch scientist Robert Jacob Gordon (1743–1795) travelled through the interior of South Africa during the second half of the 18th century. As a zoologist, cartographer, geographer, linguist, meteorologist, and anthropologist, he recorded his discoveries in an ‘Atlas’—a treasure trove of 450 drawings along with spectacular panoramas, multiple metres in length, that show precisely how Gordon portrayed the land, its inhabitants and the flora and fauna. To record all of this in words and in pictures, he made four extensive expeditions deep into the interior of South Africa, where he was frequently the mediator between the local people and the colonists, resolving conflicts arisen from arson, murders, and cattle thefts. As a representative of the European Enlightenment, Gordon poured his knowledge and expertise into the creation of ‘Great Map’, his compendium which remained unfinished due to his suicide in 1795 post the British invasion. A large number of Gordon’s drawings and metres-long, meticulously drawn panoramas can be seen in Rijksmuseum’s exhibition Good Hope: South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600 (17 February to 21 May 2017).
robertjacobgordon.nl is made possible by Cees en Ingeborg van der Burg and is created by the Rijksmuseum in association with Fabrique and Q42. The web address is obtained thanks to the Doesburgs’ Historical Society HetHuisDoesburg.
From the Terra Foundation:
Terra Foundation for American Art Academic Workshop and Symposium Grants
Fall 2017 Awards
Letters of inquiry due by 15 March 2017
The Terra Foundation for American Art actively supports projects that encourage international scholarship on American art topics, as well as scholarly projects with focused theses that further research of American art in an international context. Academic program funding is available for in-person exchanges such as workshops, symposia, and colloquia that advance scholarship in the field of American art (circa 1500–1980) that take place
• In Chicago or outside the United States, or
• In the United States and examine American art within an international context and include a significant number of international participants.
Additionally, the foundation welcomes applications for international research groups. Such groups should involve 2 to 4 faculty members from two or more academic institutions, at least one of which must be located outside the United States. Groups should pursue specific research questions that will advance scholarship and meet in person two or more times.
Visual arts that are eligible for Terra Foundation Academic Workshop and Symposium Grants include all visual art categories except architecture, performance art, and commercial film/animation. We favor programs that place objects and practices in an art historical perspective.
Note: The foundation funds museum-organized educational programs related to exhibitions through its Exhibition Grants; therefore only organizers from universities and research institutes may apply for exhibition-related programs through the Academic Program area.
Within a given year, the foundation seeks to support a range of topics. Please note that grants in this area are typically capped at $25,000 with exceptions only made for unusual circumstances.
While the Terra Foundation for American Art welcomes recurring requests, organizations that have submitted multiple applications should note that the foundation also attempts to fund programs at a variety of organizations. Due to the competitive nature of this program area, not every request can be funded, regardless of prior support.