100 objects

Over time, many diverse memories and experiences become attached to the objects with which we surround ourselves. These objects thus transcend their initial functions. They absorb their own history, their own narrative, connect us with others, with a certain place, with times gone by. In this way, a simple object can become a relic that answers the questions of our origins, and of who we are.

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Workshops

We gathered these objects by inviting people for a series of six workshops, held in the Curacao Museum in March and April 2022. During the workshops, participants shared their objects and the stories that these objects represent. What stood out to us was that the conversations never led to discussion or disagreement about what was true or which opinion mattered the most. The conversations were about people’s lives in the past and the present. Each of the participants had his or her own particular view, but that seemed to be something inspiring and interesting, not something problematic or controversial.

We did our best to present the objects in this spirit. They represent not one truth, nor do they exclude different perspectives. We consider history to be a pluriform phenomenon, something polyphonic in its nature that should not be told by a single voice.

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Work in progress

Our aim with 100 Opheto is to animate conversation about Curaçao’s history from a bottom-up perspective. Much of Curaçao’s history has been ignored for years because of inequality of power or wealth. Although times seem to be changing, we think there is still a lot of hidden past to be discovered.

It is our intention to expand the 100 Opheto project outside of Curaçao to build a rich resource of stories and objects on a Caribbean scale or maybe even a global scale. If you can provide us with untold stories or particular objects, or if you think you can add something to future projects, please contact us.

Sources

Our main historical sources were the participants of the workshops. In case we needed more information we asked them afterwards to tell us more about their object. In most cases we added context to place each object in time and place.
We thereby gratefully relied on the work of institutions like NAAM and the National Archive of Curaçao who make a lot of reliable information available to the public. We made use of specific books like Ruben La Cruz’s and Karolien Helweg’s terrific “De vergeten monumenten van Curaçao” (Arnhem, 2014) about “the kas di palu furá ku bleki” (the tin covered houses of Curaçao) and a lot of other valuable publications about the lesser known parts of Curaçao history.