Exhibiting Atrocity: A Preliminary Exhibition Proposal for the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre’s State Identification Card Portrait Collection
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 11:09 by Sarah Munro
Exhibiting Atrocity investigates common modes of publicly displaying photographs of atrocities, from the Holocaust (1933-‐1945) to the Cambodian and Rwandan genocides (1975-‐1979 and 1994, respectively). It incorporates the practical and theoretical concerns raised by these display modes into a preliminary exhibition proposal for the approximately six hundred Rwandan state identification card portraits housed at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre (KGMC) in Kigali, Rwanda. The paper’s introduction and literature survey are followed by an overview of the Rwandan genocide and the role of state identification cards therein. The KGMC’s identification portraits are then discussed in contrast to more explicit depictions of atrocity, wherein the benefits and detriments of displaying less graphic imagery are argued through an analysis of comparable past exhibitions in terms of their artistic or curatorial intention, methodology and critical reception. The findings of this analysis are subsequently applied to the KGMC’s collection, yielding a preliminary exhibition proposal that advocates the involvement of atrocity survivors in the creation of such photographic displays.