The 2017 Commemoration of the Centennial of the "Transfer Day",
the sale of the Danish Caribbean islands to the USA
Mapping Urban Vestiges of the Transatlantic Trade with Enslaved People
Artist talks · lectures · exhibitions · literature readings · postcolonial guided city tours
short films · cinema films · art bike tours (partly in English; see program)
May - September 2017 in Hamburg and Altona
SANKOFA is a West African Adinkra symbol - a bird that looks back to its own egg as its origins:
For a better understanding of the future take a look into the past.
Denmark in its 19th century entirety encompassed regions in Northern Europe, Greenland, India, China, West Africa, and the Caribbean. Within this colonial empire, Altona near Hamburg - today a city district - was the second largest town. From here, specially equipped ships embarked for the notorious atlantic triangular trade, and with a freight of enslaved people from the West African coast, they continued to sail to the Danish West Indian "sugar islands" St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. Still now numerous vestiges of the colonial merchants' legacies can be found in urban space in Altona and Hamburg.
2017 marks the centennial of the "Transfer Day", the sale of the Danish Virgin Islands to the USA. In 1917, the local population was not consulted concerning this transaction.
The three US Virgin Islands and Denmark commemorate the "Transfer Day" with numerous international events and exhibitions throughout the year. A controversial discussion about an apology on the part of Denmark for the suffering of the then enslaved African people has flared up and will have an influence on the commemoration year. Artists and NGOs are developing a novel decolonizing Triangular of Reconciliation.
The SANKOFA - ALTONA IN THE CARIBBEAN program takes the 100th anniversary as an opportunity to debate about the local history of the transatlantic trade in Hamburg-Altona. The focus is on the commemoration cultures in the former colonies, and we welcome experts from the US Virgin Islands, the USA, Denmark, Trinidad, Ghana, and Hamburg.
SANKOFA - ALTONA IN CARIBBEAN in the media (in German):
taz, Petra Schellen, 06/10/2017
Altona, gebaut aus Sklaven-Gold
Hamburger Abendblatt, Katja Engler, 07/13/2017
Masken erzählen vom Kolonialismus
Elbe Wochenblatt Altona, Ch. v. Savigny, 08/02/2017
Die Sklavenhändler aus Altona
TIDE TV Kulturtipp, Susanne Blank, 06/28/2017
YouTube: Ausstellung "Terra Incognita" im Stadtteilarchiv Ottensen
TIDE TV Kulturtipp, Laura Jutta Heidemann, 08/09/2017
YouTube: "AHOOBAA" von Joe Sam-Essandoh
Interview with Anja Dauschek, director of the Altonaer Museum
taz Montagsinterview, Petra Schellen. 09/11/2017
Das Erbe des Kolonialismus
"Die Kakao-Maske ist ein Protest"
Joe Sam-Essandoh im Interview

The Altona/Germany based colonial merchants left vestiges in the Caribbean: "Altona" is the name of a city district in Christiansted in St. Croix as well as in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas where also a street is called "Altona".


Altonaer Museum
Stadtteilarchiv Ottensen/Geschichtswerkstatt für Altona
International Slavery Museum in Liverpool
Kunsthaus Hamburg
Buchhandlung Christiansen in Altona
Kino 3001
Stadtteilschule Eidelstedt
Kulturagenten für Kreative Schulen
funded by
Ministry of Culture and Media
Bezirksamt Altona
Behörde für Schule und Berufsbildung, Landeszentrale für Politische Bildung Hamburg


the project

the 2017 program


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September 2017
Sunday at the
Altonaer Museum
Su 09/17/2017
3 p.m.
Talk with the artist
Joe Sam-Essandoh and the curator
Hannimari Jokinen
(in German)
4 p.m.
Curating the Unspeakable:
The Case of Slavery lecture by Jean-François Manicom, artist and curator
at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool/UK
(in English)
space installation
exhibition opening
Joe Sam-Essandoh
Altonaer Museum
until 12/31/2017
Program in German language