Moving mountains

Moving mountains aims at returning th peak of Kilimanjaro, that hs been removed and dislaced to Germany by colonial geographer Hans Meyer in 1889. In ordert to do so, the collective PARA offers peak replica for sale by help of a crowdfunding campaign. These replica have been made in the exhibition at GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig. Earnings made will be used to enable the original peaks return.

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Going further still, PARA has removed the top 6 centimetres of Zugspitze and taken it hostage during the process of the restitution. Only when the peak of Kilimanjaro returns to its original place, so will the peak of Zugspitze.



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In 1889, the colonial geographer Hans Meyer undertook an expedition to Kilimanjaro, located in present-day Tanzania, then part of the colony of German East Africa. In this process, Meyer removed the peak of Kilimanjaro and renamed it Kaiser-Wilhelm-Spitze. The removed peak was cut into two parts. Meyer gave one half to Emperor Wilhelm II as a gift, who had it installed in the Neues Palais in Potsdam. This half is considered missing today. The other half ended up in the inventory of an Austrian antique bookshop, where it has been on sale ever since.

In collaboration, Tanzanian artists Rehema Chachage and Valerie Asiimwe Amani as well as the German artist collective PARA approach the stone from two positions. Chachage and Amani reflect on the echo of emptiness caused by colonial exploitation. Her work takes up the experience of emptiness created by the missing piece. PARA questions the ownership of the remaining half of the stone.

PARA aims at returning the top rock by public help. During performative actions in the scope of the exhibition “Moving Mountains” at GRASSI Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig they invite to subsequently erode the museum’s physical structure in order to create replicas of the top rock. The proceeds generated by selling these will be used to buy the actual top rock from the Austrian antiquarian. The anthropological museum, on the other hand, becomes a resource for restitution.


The project is sponsored by Initiative für ethnologische Sammlungen.


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