Dutch royal family under fire for “caricature insensitivity”
One of the activities of the Dutch royal family planned for Thursday in Curaçao has come under criticism for "caricatured insensitivity." Princess Amalia, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima officially began their two-week visit to the Caribbean part of the Netherlands on Saturday morning in Bonaire. They will arrive in Curaçao on Wednesday.
There they will paint a so-called Chichi during a visit on Thursday. According to the Netherlands Government Information Service, "a typical Curaçao sculpture symbolizes the responsible older sister in the family." However, according to critics like Lusette “Poppy” Verboom, it is "a caricature of a black woman with widely spread legs and large breasts prominently displayed," reported curacao.nu.
Furthermore, critics called the royal visit inappropriate at a time when the people of Curaçao are busy coming to terms with the past of slavery, including Prime Minister Mark Rutte's apology last month. The protest was initiated by a gallery owner.
Verboom received increasing support, including on social media, from people who do not see the depiction of Chichi as a symbol of the responsible older sister at all. They call it a caricature that contradicts "the pursuit of equality and self-respect for black people."
However, a spokesperson for the Netherlands Government Information Service said that "the program was put together by the islands themselves" and would not comment further on the outcry.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times