What other families call the guest room, was known as the “Africa Room” in Anne Schönharting’s family. Until recently it was located in one half of a semidetached house in Diera near Meissen, where it had been moved after German unification. The “Afrika Room” was where the collection of her great-grandfather Willy Klare was kept for four generations. From 1907 to 1914 Klare worked for a Liverpool-based trader as a cacao plantation manager in what is now Equatorial Guinea. There he collected many objects, including weapons, everyday objects, animal preparations, and jewelry. In addition, the collection contains hundreds of photographs as well as letters and postcards from this period. For four generations the family kept this collection, continually rearranging it in their living space and adding their own travel souvenirs to it. During the GDR era, the room brought a sense of identity; it symbolized distance and broad expanses, the freedom to travel. Africa was considered a desirable destination; the colonial background and the provenance of the artifacts remained largely unconsidered. After her parents’ death, the photographer was confronted with this legacy – and now places it in changed contexts in her work and this book. With her own pictures and reproductions of the inherited artifacts and photographs, Anne Schönharting embarks on an associative journey into a history unknown to her and consciously enters into a personal dialogue with her family’s past, with German and European history, and with her own private and social colonial responsibility.
About the Photographer
Anne Schönharting (*1973), member of OSTKREUZ since 1999, various prizes and scholarships, solo and group exhibitions, OSTKREUZ – Co-managing director since 2019. The Legacy is her first book. She lives and works in Berlin.
As part of the exhibition CONTINENT – In Search of Europe OSTKREUZ–Agentur der Fotografen, Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz, Berlin, October 2, 2020 – January 10, 2021