drs. W. (Pim) Westerkamp

Pim WesterkampPim Westerkamp studied Indonesian Languages and Cultures at the University of Leiden and Theatre Studies at the University of Amsterdam). He graduated in 1987 with a comparative study of Javanese dance masks. In 2001 he graduated yet again as an anthropologist with research into the daily lives of young Muslims in Yogyakarta, Central Java. Since 2005 he is curator Culture and History of Southeast Asia in the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Prior to this, he worked fourteen years as a curator Indonesia at the Museum Nusantara in Delft. Westerkamp is an expert on Indonesian (contemporary) history and material culture, he is involved in ethical issues, and has published on Indonesian material culture, the history of collections and colonial history and photography.

Ethnicity or Culture: the career of mannequins in (post)colonial displays

The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam has three plaster mannequins of Indonesian people on display at the section on the Netherlands East-Indies, a clerk, a teacher and a seamstress. When looking at past displays before and after the Second World War, it became clear that the three mannequins had been used in quite different settings. Westerkamp started to have a closer look at the display of other mannequins of Indonesian people in both the Colonial Museum, and its successor, the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. In his research he looked at the different roles these mannequins have played in successive displays and by doing so, he focussed on their interchangeability of ethnicity and of status and/or profession. This in order to investigate what this reveals on heritage formation.

E-mail: pim.westerkamp@nmvw.nl