Returning the Gaze is Sites of Memory's latest site specific performance. It's about whose voice is heard, ignored or acknowledged, whose face is seen, erased and covered up. The dominant, often white gaze versus the suppressed perspective from which colonial history is viewed, is central to this performance. The audience will be taken on a walking tour from Willet-Holthuysen museum to Amsterdam Museum along the Amstel. These museums, the collection, the history of the buildings and the city form the starting point for this performance. The artists reflect on themes such as wealth and power from different perspectives. What happened to capital obtained through colonial trade, how many generations of families benefited and at the expense of what and who? At the expense of where? Returning the Gaze shares local underrepresented stories from the colonial past through dance, poetry, and music.


23, 24, 25, 30 September, 1 and 2 October 13:00 and 15:30 O'clock

Start location: Willet-Holthuysen Museum Amsterdam

Duration: 60 min

This performance is in Dutch with text in English, Papiamentu and Sranan Tongo

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Credit: Judith Westerveld

Listen to the podcast about Returning the Gaze in Amsterdam. Dionne Verwey will be in conversation with Jennifer Tosch (co-founder Sites of Memory and founder Black Heritage Tours) and Maurice Zeleky (Head of Marketing and Communication Amsterdam Museum). They discuss the collaboration between Sites of Memory and Amsterdam Museum and the need for institutions to share underrepresented stories with the public.

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The artists' collective Sites of Memory was approached to create a prelude in the run-up to the Scheepvaartmuseum's new exhibition 'The Atlantic World'. This resulted in the art installation ‘Decoding the Atlantic World’, and is a collaboration between Sites of Memory founders Jennifer Tosch, Katy Streek and artists Raul Balai and Jarrett Erasmus.



On Wednesday 29 June, two Malian musicians Ballaké Sissoko and Habib Koité will perform at Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. This evening Sites of Memory will share a programme: 19:15 we’ll screen Future for the Past - The Movie followed by a short Q&A, at 20:00 there will be a teaser of our new performance 'Returning the Gaze'. Get your tickets via the following link



Did you miss the performance Future for the Past or would you like to revisit some of the stories? You can now visit our Creative Archive, a space where you can read background information about the sites, listen to performance text and watch 360 videos. This space allows you to navigate through stories from The Netherlands to South Africa, from past, present and future.





Get your ticket for Returning the Gaze in Haarlem!



Returning the Gaze can be seen on 2 and 3 July and starts at De Schuur in Haarlem. This theatrical city walk about the colonial history of Haarlem. Local underexposed stories are interspersed with scenes of dance, poetry, and live music on location in the city.


The performance lasts 45 minutes and has lyrics in Dutch, English and Papiamentu.




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