“Return of the Amersfoort” by Aline Xavier, Haroon Gunn-Salie

  • ©2018, Aline Xavier and Haroon Gunn-Salie, Return of the Amersfoort


    Return of the Amersfoort

Artist(s) and People Involved:



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Artist Statement:

    Return of the Amersfoort is the result of the collaboration between Haroon Gunn-Salie and Aline Xavier formulated during a research residency at Thami Mnyele Foundation in Amsterdam. Staging a symbolic repatriation, the project presents a reoriented perspective on the historic and contemporary connections shared between South Africa, the Netherlands and Brazil. Anchoring the ghost of the East India Company (VOC) merchant ship Amersfoort in the historic city it honours. In January 1658, Amersfoort, pirated a Portuguese slaving vessel off the coast of Baía de Todos os Santos. In its hold, 500 male and female Angolan slaves, destined to be sold in the slave markets of Brazil. 250 slaves were taken aboard Amersfoort, which docked in Table Bay on 28 March 1658, marking the day the Cape became a slave trading colony. The installation conceptualized as a chain of experiences, invoking ancestral elements evoking the presence of the ghost vessel, flagging its remains to dismantle and contest eurocentric historical-fact.


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