The hills of Banda’bou have turned a dull, grey color, speckled with the occasional yellow pop of the blooming ‘kibrahacha’. The effects of last year’s rainy season have definitely worn out in this uninhabitable sea of shrubs that was once an operational plantation. It takes little effort to imagine what an ordeal it would have been to have to work in these fields. A collection of buildings with deep yellow walls and tangerine roof tiles looks out over the property.
It is Saturday afternoon and on the terrace of plantation-house Knip (Kenepa) there is an unusual flurry of activity. Music and speeches rise up into the air and cascade down the hills. The guests are seated on the tented west terrace. Many of the female guests have made an effort to wear colorful traditional dresses and headdresses. It is a celebration after all.
Today is July 1st, 2023 – 160 years after the formal abolition of slavery in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This morning, King Willem Alexander asked for forgiveness for this crime against humanity in which the Dutch state had participated for so many centuries. And here, at Landhuis Knip, the renewed Museo Tula (Tula Museum) is celebrating their soft opening. With a virtual presentation in anticipation of the permanent exposition, the story of Tula is shared. An enslaved man who turned into a revolt leader, and fought for equality in 1795, following the ideals of the French revolution. He had to pay for this with his life, and it would take another 68 years before enslaved people on the island were emancipated.
Museo Tula 2.0 will tell the story of Tula and his compatriots, as well as the broader story of slavery in Curacao, in an interactive, contemporary way. Over the past months, the initiators of Fundashon Museo Tula have worked tirelessly to make this vision happen, with the cooperation of different foundations and the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture, and Sports. Monumentenzorg Curacao, the foundation entrusted with the care of the buildings, has also invested heavily in making sure everything was ready for this fresh start.
With a moving ceremony and energetic speeches, the mood has been set. The team behind Museo Tula has shown to be ready to elaborate on the theme of the permanent exhibition: ‘Resistance, resilience and the process of emancipation’, both in the factual or artistic displays as in the discussions triggered by the series of masterclasses they are offering. As such, they will write the next chapter in the history of Landhuis Knip. They will not only cement Landhuis Knip’s importance as a monument to the atrocities of the past but also water the seeds of change that Tula first planted here, in the hopes of building a more equal and equitable society.
To stay up to date on the official opening dates and events/workshops leading up to this, visit www.fundashonmuseotula.com.