Vibe Nielsen
In the aftermath of the unification in 1861, Italy joined other European colonial powers in the so-called Scramble for Africa. While Italy was not a colonial power for much more than a few decades, the material reminders of colonial expansion are nevertheless still present in the ethnographic collections of the country. In this research project, I examine how Italy‘s colonial past is described and disseminated in the exhibition of objects from Africa at the Museo Preistorico Etnografico Luigi Pigorini in Rome. I do so in order to explore how works of art that have been exhibited internationally in exhibitions in New York and London, are displayed in an Italian context. How are the objects associated with Italy‘s colonial past? How is the provenance of the objects presented? And is it the aesthetic, historical or so-called ethnographic narrative, which is central for the curatorial focus? These and other aspects will be examined using anthropological, historical and museological research methods, in a study that will contribute to the field of postcolonial museum studies.