Special exhibitions

Special exhibition

May 12 to October 5, 2023

Artist Meets Archive #3: Lebohang Kganye
Shall You Return Everything, but the Burden

Artist meets Archive (AMA) goes into the third round! Together with the International Photoscene Cologne, we invite South African artist Lebohang Kganye to work with the holdings of the RJM's Photographic Collection. Known for her photographs, Lebohang Kganye often incorporates the archival and performative into her work, which focuses on storytelling and family memories. The exhibition will open for the Photoscene Festival in May 2023.


Special exhibition

from April 29th, 2022

About missing, giving back and remembering

Since 2021, the RJM has been intensively involved in the planned repatriation of the Benin bronzes from Nigeria. The restitution debates have never been as explosive as they are today. But what is behind the restitution demands? What do they mean in concrete terms for the people who are affected by them? What happened at the place of origin after an object was collected and left its place? What emptiness did it leave behind in its country of origin? "I MISS YOU" is a new series about grief, missing, melancholy, broken memories and emptiness.


from 20 September 2023

Your turn!

According to Art. 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, all children have a right to play and to participate freely in cultural and artistic life. But is that really true? We take this right seriously. In YOU ARE THERE! - SPACE4KIDS we create space for a participatory and experimental programme with and for children on almost 1,400 sqm in an ethnological museum with its complex social conflicts.




Speicial exhibition

December 8, 2023 to April 7, 2024

made by the Warlpiri of Central Australia and Patrick Waterhouse

What can Australian First Nations do to counter the arbitrary borders, maps and photographs drawn by European colonisers? How can they tell their own stories, reclaim the power of interpretation and bring their own perspectives to bear? Over the past seven years, groups of artists from the Warlukurlangu Artists Centre in Central Australia, in collaboration with British artist Patrick Waterhouse, have reworked maps, flags, photographs, comic illustrations and other archival material. This has resulted in artistic positions that offer new access to previously mostly obscured perspectives. The largest exhibition of these works to date, some of which also relate to the collection holdings at the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, will open on 8 December 2023. It is a great pleasure for the museum to welcome both a Walpiri delegation and the British artist to Cologne for the completion of the exhibition and for an exchange with the public during the opening weekend.


Our exhibition formats


Special exhibitions 

The large exhibition hall is used for a wide variety of special exhibitions and exciting programmes.

Point of Focus

In the Point of Focus (Blickpunkt) exhibition area, we shed new and critical light on our own collection in close cooperation with the communities of origin.


Art intervention

To enliven our permanent exhibition, which opened in 2010, with new approaches and ideas, we regularly conduct “art interventions” – large and small, realised by invited artists, students, associations or by ourselves.