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Roger Casement - voice of the voiceless

An exhibition telling the story of Roger Casement’s humanitarian work using objects he collected in Africa and South America.

A temporary exhibition to commemorate Roger Casement’s work as a humanitarian opened at the National Museum of Ireland on the 100th anniversary of his death on 3rd August 2016.

Although Roger Casement is recognised for his role in the 1916 Rising, his humanitarian work investigating atrocities in the rubber trade in Africa and South America is less well-known. This exhibition uses some of the objects he collected during his time in Africa and South America to tell the story of this part of his life and the story of the victims of slavery and forced labour he worked for.

On display are butterflies collected in present day Colombia, items used in rubber collecting in present day Democratic Republic of Congo and objects made by skilled Congolese and Amazonian crafts people. The exhibition concludes with a panel dealing with modern day slavery and oppression of tribal people.

Casement stated in an essay that “the rubber was there. How it was produced, out of what a hell of human suffering no one knew, no one asked, no one suspected. Can it be no one cared?” Sadly the issues Casement encountered 100 years ago; land rights, slavery, child labour, genocide, the treatment of indigenous people and the prioritisation of business over human rights are still relevant. Today we can easily replace the word ‘rubber’ with a modern day commodity. It is hoped the exhibition will stimulate people to think more about the supply chain of goods we buy today, to question disrespectful treatment of others and invite us to ask ourselves “do we care?”

This exhibition is planned to run until the end of 2017.

Exhibition panels (pdfs)

Exhibition panels (pdfs)

Exhibition panels in pdf format

Exhibition opening

Exhibition opening

Photographs and speeches